To help bring food to the affected areas, Skelos and his office worked with Island Harvest. “They helped Island Harvest in identifying specific neighborhoods that needed our assistance, and were on hand to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with important food collection and distribution events,” said Don Miller, an Island Harvest spokesman. “The senator’s outreach to county and state agencies and officials on behalf of Island Harvest proved to be invaluable in directing essential resources to other areas severely impacted by the storm.”
Skelos also worked with the officials in hard-hit areas like East Rockaway, Long Beach and Island Park to make sure they had the tools to help their communities. He helped lead the effort to get resources to those communities’ fire departments, which he described as their “heart and soul” after the storm.
“He was very instrumental in providing us with generators and access to heaters so that we could provide heat in our firehouse,” said Steve Torborg, the chief of the East Rockaway Fire Department. “Later on, he provided a number of other assets to us — anything we needed, he either provided or directed us to someone who could. He was in constant contact with us, making sure we got what we needed and that we didn’t need anything else.”
“I saw the worst devastation I’ve ever seen in terms of the local communities,” Skelos said. “But I also saw the best in people, looking to help their neighbors. The absolute desire to rebuild the communities and make their lives once again as normal as possible.”