Here are a few photos of what the Otsquago Creek looked like just a few weeks ago.
“It’s been a tough 10 days here, but the generosity and the help we are getting is what keeps us going,” said Pat Hanifin, president of the Fort Plain Teachers Association. Hanifin is proud that more than half of his local’s 88 members have been volunteering to clean out the muck from homes and businesses of the Montgomery County community. I’m awaiting a call back from Mark Hisert, president of the Fort Plain SRP local, to hear how his members are coping — and helping.
As usual, NYSUT members from across the state have been generous in their support of those affected by the flooding. Last month’s flooding is the latest natural disaster to test union members and their families and neighbors. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc last fall in the downstate area, while Tropical Storms Lee and Irene devastated much of upstate New York the previous year. NYSUT’s Disaster Relief Fund — made up of volunteer donations from union members and staff — has responded to members in need in each instance.
Meanwhile, Hanifin reports that more volunteers are still needed to clean out basements to help protect homes from mold and mildew. This small town is quite organized and residents have split up the coordinating duties among a variety of churches.
- To help clean up homes, go to the Fort Plain Reformed Church, 165 Canal St., in Fort Plain or call ahead to (518) 993-4302.
- To donate cleaning products such as bleach and rubber gloves, or canned or packaged food items, send those to the Fort Plain United Methodist Church, 39 Center St, Fort Plain, NY 13339-1223 or call (518) 993-3863.
- To donate clothing, send to Valley Alliance Church at 85 Main St, Fort Plain, NY 13339 or call (518) 993-3458.
Money is the currency after a disaster. You can help by contributing to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. On July 1, Gov. Cuomo requested federal disaster relief designation from President Obama. Here’s a link to more recent news that Cuomo will call a special session of the Legislature if federal aid is not approved. Once the decision on designations is made, NYSUT will make disaster relief applications available to members in the Fort Plain area.
NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, who is taking a truckload of cleaning supplies to members in Fort Plain today, said the union has received reports of members in need of disaster relief throughout a large portion of central New York affected by the recent floods.
“We are once again asking our members and our locals to step up to fund disaster relief efforts,” said Donahue, who heads up the union’s Disaster Relief Fund with Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler. “This is direct aid. Not one cent goes toward administrative costs, so people can know every dollar they give goes directly to a union brother or sister. Our members have been extremely generous, and I know they will continue their support.”
Meanwhile, to help facilitate the application process, those in affected areas should keep a detailed list of their losses. If you need to discuss the challenges you have rebuilding, contact NYSUT Social Services at (800) 342-9810, ext. 6206.
To view more photos, here’s a link to a photo gallery of the impact of flooding in the village of Fort Plain and another photo gallery.
And remember to support the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund.