YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown recognized dozens of first-responders, volunteers and town employees who went “above and beyond the call of duty” during Hurricane Sandy and helped the town through one of the worst natural disasters in its history.
“I have never seen so many wires down,” Council member Terrence Murphy said about the days after Sandy. “I counted personally up to 19 transformers on people’s front yards and in the middle of the road. I’ve never seen so many telephone poles just snapped in half. It was really devastating here."
Yorktown, however, was prepared to deal with the monumental devastation, officials said. Supervisor Michael Grace said the town re-worked its emergency response plan after 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene and October snowstorm and re-trained its Community Emergency Response Team.
Grace especially praised Public Safety Officer Larry Eidelman, who he said was instrumental in running the emergency shelter at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center during the storm.
“Back in January we began to start to do emergency management planning,” Grace said. “In that context, we blew the dust off and rediscovered Larry Eidelman, who had all the training in the world that any town could want.”
Grace also thanked the work of the town’s utility crews, NYSEG and Con Edison, as well as the town’s Highway Superintendent Eric Dibartolo.
“It’s no secret Eric is a polarizing guy,” Grace said. “He’s a lightning rod for a lot of things, but I’m going to tell you, there’s nobody, and I mean nobody that I would rather have on my side in battle.”
Dibartolo returned the praise and applauded Grace’s leadership during a time of crisis.
“You read in all these magazines and these blogs that people don’t have to put their names on and you have the nerve to criticize the supervisor of this town,” Dibartolo said. “I’ll tell you, I’ve been doing this job going on 18 years, and there’s never been a supervisor that has stepped up to the place like Supervisor Michael Grace. People need to know that.”
The town also gave certificates of appreciation to resident volunteers and YCCC maintenance staff.