As we recover, please thank your local heroes

(Page 2 of 2)
Joe Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is my new hero. He took the reins and made the early decision to shut down the MTA to avoid catastrophe. His job is one of the hardest in the city, and the only press coverage he receives is for raising fares and making cuts. He has proved to be a tremendous leader.

It’s hard to understand just how stressful and trying these types of disasters are for our lawmakers. Know that as little as you’re sleeping, they’re sleeping less, and not seeing their own families.

It’s times like these when we realize how much we need government assistance, and we’re very lucky to have such valued emergency-response teams.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was established for disaster mitigation and response. It has already begun disbursing aid throughout the tri-state area. Although the agency has been criticized for past mismanagements, thus far its response to Sandy has been commendable.

Over the next few weeks, we should have power restored, but our infrastructure will take much longer to repair. Millions of dollars, if not billions, have already been spent on cleanup and temporary housing and workers. Over time, highways have to be rebuilt, industries like fishing and boating restored, mass transit systems need major repair, and homes must be resurrected.

Let’s make sure disaster-recovery funds go to those who truly need them. In Long Beach, eventually we’ll rebuild the boardwalk, with as much care and detail as the first time. Summer will come and Sandy will be a distant memory.

I’ve lived in or near the small village of Island Park for almost my entire life. Island Park lost so much. But we are a people of faith. Through the grace of God, we will recover and we will stand strong.

Please take the time to stop and thank your local volunteers for their selflessness.

Electrical power and personal possessions mean nothing. We are all so very fortunate. Give your children and loved ones an extra kiss tonight. God bless everyone.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?

Page 2 / 2