YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Into everyone’s life a little sun must shine. In Yorktown, on the coldest days of March, during a power outage of unparalleled duration, those rays piercing the frigid temperatures and darkness came in the form of volunteers, and town officials made sure last week to recognize some of them.
At the Town Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, May 1, Councilman Tom Diana called a group of individuals to the front of the council chambers to show them the community’s gratitude.
Referring to folders he held, Diana said, “These are certificates of appreciation to the people that helped us hand out ice, the dry ice, during the last days of the power outage. You know who your friends are when you can call them up and at a moment’s notice, they rally together and they bring in a group of people that are more than willing to help.”
He then announced more than a handful of names, and as he did so, the volunteers rose, shook hands with Diana and members of the governing body gathered at the podium and joined a growing line in front of the dais: Tyler Campobasso, Tyler Pugliese, Ryan Campobasso, Kevin Byrnes, John Campobasso, James Pugliese, Brian Danish and Brett Warden.
Richard Deleo, who co-chairs the CERT team with Byrnes and was unable to attend the meeting, was also recognized.
After distributing the certificates, Diana told the audience, “Yorktowners come together in the most dire situations. These are people that you can count on. I don’t care if they are 15 or 50, they’re here to help.
“One phone call and this is the response I get,” he added.
During the spate of nor’easters in early March, the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center served as a warming station and accommodated overnight sheltering in an operation manned by the Community Emergency Response Team.
Byrnes, asked to say a few words at the meeting, detailed some of the volunteers’ responsibilities, from setting up tech charging stations and cots to distributing food and dry ice provided by Con Edison and the town. Diana, in fact, drove to Carmel to pick up water and dry ice from New York State Electric and Gas before ConEd designated the town a distribution center for dry ice.
Byrnes said about 15 people sheltered at the warming center overnight during the power outage.
Diana also made a point of calling out the efforts of Barry Gelbman, foreman, and Todd Orlowski, superintendent, both with Parks and Recreation.
The nor’easters were also on the mind of Supervisor Ilan Gilbert, who said during his opening remarks at the meeting that he had appeared on April 24 before an administrative law judge of the Public Service Commission in Pound Ridge to fault the responses of the utilities companies to the March storms.
In his statement to the commission, Gilbert cited the utilities’ failures to, among other things, pre-position their resources, communicate effectively with mutual aid crews and provide accurate information about power restoration.