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August 27, 2012

Irene memories flood back to area


The Daily Star —

Recently, Young tried to show his gratitude.

His son John married Jessica Lane earlier this month, and after the formal reception in the store’s new two-story building, Young opened up the second floor and asked residents, customers and others in the community to join the family for food, drinks and dancing.

“It was a way for me to say ‘thank you,’” Young said. About 200 people accepted his invitation to party in the upstairs of the addition, he said, while about 150 wedding reception guests celebrated downstairs.

Young said living through a storm like Irene is emotionally and psychologically bruising and he has become especially attuned to his wife’s anxiety about rainfall.

“It’s tough on my wife,” he said, and they don’t watch the Weather Channel now.

But he pays attention to the weather report enough to plan special activities with his wife if heavy rainfall is in the forecast. Once, when 2 or 3 inches were predicted, Young took his wife to Albany for an overnight stay, restaurant meals and shopping, keeping the weather-related reason to himself.

Healing, he said, takes time and compassion.

Emergency Services director coordinated response

Richard Bell, director of the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services, said in the days that Hurricane Irene was moving up the coast, area officials met to consider various “what if” scenarios. A decision was made not to deploy emergency trucks, resources and personnel to areas downstate because of possible local needs.

The decision was a good one, Bell said.

“I had great concerns from the beginning that this could go either way,” Bell said. “We were too close for comfort.”

Delaware County’s previous experiences with flooding have been applied into disaster preparedness and the formation and readiness of the county’s emergency services center on Phoebe Lane in Delhi, Bell said. The response to Irene was a matter of coordinating efforts, services, volunteers and resources through the center, he said.

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