Stevens said that his battalion has the same equipment as private contractors who are moving into the area, and that he hopes his citizen soldiers can soon return to their civilian lives.
“After the initial response, we kind of get in the way,” he said. “The communities like us to stay, because we do provide a service, but it’s beyond the initial emergency scope of the work.”
Several Otsego County residents have also been working in the Rockways. They’re connected with the grassroots Occupy Sandy volunteer group, which has delivered truckloads of supplies to a makeshift distribution center set up at St. Francis de Sales Parish Hall in Rockaway.
There, the donations were parceled out to residents in the coastal communities of Queens that were devastated by torrential flooding, said James Dean, a Cooperstown stair maker and village trustee who, with his daughter, Janice, spent the weekend working alongside Occupy Sandy volunteers.
“There is a lot to be said for the young people down there who are making this work,” James Dean said. “What they are showing is that by cooperating they can get the job done. The people getting the contributions told us many times that everything was not only appreciated but also needed.”
Dean said his daughter, who works as an assistant state attorney general, was able to generate an outpouring of donations simply by posting on social media items that the storm-battered residents said they needed.
“You can’t just solve the problem with bottled water,” he said.