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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Alfonse D'Amato
As we recover, please thank your local heroes

I always thought it was cliché to say, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” but in the aftermath of Sandy, I can honestly say that, in my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like it.

It’s especially heart-wrenching for me to see my own community devastated by this storm. Many have lost everything they own, including their homes, cars and possessions. On Long Island, more than 90 percent of residents were left without power.

I was among the lucky ones. My house was left relatively unscathed, but my neighbors in Lido Beach, Long Beach and Island Park suffered some of the worst damage on Long Island. Buildings and homes are condemned as a result of the severe flooding, pieces of the beloved Long Beach boardwalk have washed up on front lawns, there are boats in the middle of Long Beach Road, and it looks like it will be weeks before power is restored in some areas.

But there has also been so much grace and goodness that should not go unnoticed. Among all of the tears and frustration, we have seen our community come together and support those who are less fortunate.

I’d like to give a very special shout-out to all of Long Island’s volunteer firefighters and public safety officers, and thank the volunteers who came from our upstate communities to show support. These men and women worked tirelessly, around the clock, to ensure that people were safe. They started by alerting those in mandatory evacuation zones of the importance of evacuation, and helped collect and distribute supplies to those most in need, pump the water out of their homes and secure houses that were in danger.

And although I’m sure there are complaints, I must commend all of our state and local officials for coming together, putting politics aside and supporting our community.

President Obama deserves praise. I’m sure it was difficult to step away from the campaign trail just days before the election, but he put the needs of the East Coast first.

Governor Cuomo has been an outstanding leader. I appreciate the way he has been so hands-on, and worked with County Executive Ed Mangano and other local leaders to personally see the damage and take immediate action.

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