Hurricane Irene hits close to home

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By Danielle Kreig

For most of us at Union, Hurricane Irene is just a memory. However, the people of local Schoharie County are still living with the devastating effects of the storm everyday as they work day and night to pick up the pieces of their damaged homes and possessions.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 students made a cleanup effort to help victims. Working closely with Josh DeBartolo ‘08, class valedictorian and native of Schoharie County, the volunteers were able to see the damage that, even four weeks following the initial storm, was still devastating the lives of those affected. DeBartolo first presented his situation at a Wold House Council meeting, still covered in dirt and mud from his day’s work, to ask for any help Wold could offer.

He described the destruction by asking the council to “picture any item in your house. If you can name it, people lost it.”

DeBartolo and the student volunteers traveled to Schoharie Creek, which had risen to potential flood levels. During the storm, the creek had flooded the surrounding farmland, including the main residential road, and destroyed almost everything in its path. Houses were flipped upside down and piles of rubble were strewn across the ground. The group mainly helped one homeowner, Judy, whose home was left intact but had lost all of her other possessions, including four of her dogs.

There are still many more people in Schoharie County who are in desperate need of help; John Calvin Toll Day as well as members of the Wold House will be sponsoring vans to Schoharie.

For those who are interested in contributing to the recovery effort, please contact Wold House at kreigd@garnet.union.edu or e-mail DeBartolo directly at josh.debartolo@gmail.com.

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