Giving Back

Somers Man Helps Recovery Efforts in Texas

dd028786b55214b628f7_54452_.jpg
Ricky Mancini and Michael Ottomanelli Credits: Photo Courtesy of Ricky Mancini
f9e88967e0ee94d28fa1_54451_.jpg
One of the flooded roaways Credits: Photo Courtesy of Ricky Mancini
84d11a7004ac0e0d7266_54453_.jpg
A neighborhood submerged Credits: Photo Courtesy of Ricky Mancini
0c4acc5123ef7a5e215a_54454_.jpg
The men were embedded with a K-9 search and rescue team. Credits: Photo Courtesy of Ricky Mancini
dd028786b55214b628f7_54452_.jpg

SOMERS, N.Y.--With tens of thousands of Texans displaced by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requested citizen volunteers throughout the nation to help with recovery efforts. Somers resident Ricky Mancini and Yorktown resident Michael Ottomanelli were quick to answer the call.

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, Mancini and Ottomanelli arrived in Texas just outside of San Antonio. They were embedded with the Army National Guard, a K-9 search and rescue team, and U.S. Marine units to help with recovery efforts.

“We came down here on our own dime in an effort to help as many people and animals as we could,” Mancini wrote on Facebook. “We have been on search boats with dogs, been into neighborhoods that were covered in 10 feet of water, jumped onto rooftops, aided in asset procurement for survivors, and had the pleasure of meeting some of the kindest and most welcoming families in the heart of some of the worst destruction ever seen in this country.”

Sign Up for E-News

Seeing the flooding on news reports did not do justice “to the enormity of the devastation,” Mancini said. Driving three hours from one destination to the next, he would often see nothing but homes and cars destroyed, thousands of stranded livestock, and people helping people.

Mancini said he was particularly struck by a family who all lived in separate houses on the same road: mom, dad, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, kids and grandkids. The three generations of family members “lost everything” except the clothes on their backs, Mancini said.

Mancini said he plans to keep close contact with the family and raise all the funds all he can to help them get back on their feet. A collection drive has been started at paypay.me/collectfunds.

“This isn’t going to an organization that takes out operating costs, or distributes to centers,” Mancini said. “This money will be going directly into the hands of a family who has lost both their homes, and the legacy that they’ve built over the course of three generations.”

Mancini said the money will allow the family to purchase items many people take for granted: clothing, food, and water.

“They have a long road ahead of them, and will never again return to the normalcy they’ve known,” he said.

The two men returned home Sunday, Sept. 3. Mancini called his Texas visit “one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had.”

“The people of the greater Houston area were some of the kindest and thankful people I’ve ever encountered,” he wrote on Instagram. “I will take with me everything that these people taught me for the rest of my life. Stay strong, Houstonians. We’re all with you.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

This can't be happening to me

Several years ago, as part of an assignment for Linda Spear’s writers’ workshop, I began developing a short story. With a dear friend’s permission, I wrote of her long-ago troubling encounter; again, with her permission, I am sharing it with you. I wrote it in the first person, and all names, some facts and locations were changed to protect her privacy.

Hitting the road, Part I

Nothing captures the imagination of the American traveler like a good old-fashioned road trip. It reminds me of when I was a kid, packing the car for our annual family trip to Atlantic City. My primary function was to complain that there was not enough snacks and Hawaiian Punch to last the epic three-hour journey. I remember these trips as a lot more fun than they probably were, partly because I ...

A gentleman and a gentle man

My father crossed the River Styx in his 92nd year. He did not go gentle into that good night, but after diagnosing his own problem, fought to keep his promise to my mother and not leave her alone after nearly 70 years. He was a lateral thinker and lucid to his last breath.  

My parents were very private people who shared seven decades of being together, not only as husband and wife but ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...