The relief efforts of dozens of Bloomingdale volunteers following Superstorm Sandy were commended Tuesday night by Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy and the borough council.
Men and women in uniform filled the council chambers as they were called to the center of the room by group to hear kind words from the mayor and receive a plaque commending their efforts. Dunleavy said all of the volunteers went "above and beyond the call of duty during Hurricane Sandy."
"It was a tough time for all of us, the storm," he said.
Dunleavy first commended the Department of Public Works employees, who he said, asked for no fanfare because they were simply doing their jobs.
"These gentlemen didn't want any recognition," he said.
Dunleavy said the employees worked 18-hour shifts for 10 days straight.
The mayor also recognized the Bloomingdale Police Department and specifically praised Chief Joe Borell and the officers for maintaining constant communication with him during and after the storm. When thanking Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department members, Dunleavy said the firefighters not only helped residents in their own borough, but traveled to Seaside Heights as well to help canvass the area and ensure that residents were safe.
The Bloomingdale Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) assisted with shelters that were set up when residents needed refuge from their homes that were without power, Dunleavy said. Tri-Boro First Aid Squad services Bloomingdale on a regular basis, but Dunleavy said the group of volunteers were out in full force following the storm.
Borell and Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Hudson received a second honor for their work with the borough's Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Hudson recently took over the role and the team helped manage storm response with the various departments.
"Our OEM is here, just serving our borough in such a great capacity," Dunleavy said.
Hudson also thanked the department heads for helping make the response easier by working together.
"Without the efforts of everyone coming together and getting things done...it just shows the tightness of Bloomingdale," he said.
Borough Hall employees were also commended for coming in to the office after the storm to assist residents.
"While most of us were off work, without power and no means to get to work, these people came to work," Dunleavy said.
Lake Iosco Praises Bloomingdale Leaders
The mayor and council members were not the only ones offering praise Tuesday night.
More than a dozen Lake Iosco residents came to the meeting to show their appreciation for the work of borough officials and, particularly, the borough council for using their leadership to assist the lake community.
Lake Iosco Association President Bob Scherreik, speaking on behalf of the 43-family community, said residents would have been trapped in the neighborhoods by downed trees and wires if additional crews were not brought in to assist. He acknowledged the costs associated with such a task.
"In a time of fiscal austerity, it is tough to spend the extra funds to bring in crews," he said, telling the council members that they truly came through for the borough's residents.
Another Lake Iosco resident echoed the remarks and said that thanks to the DPW and other town employees, his neighborhood no longer looked like "a war zone," as it did immediately following the storm. But most of all, he was thankful that the borough was concerned enough to help the Lake Iosco community.
"You gave us relief, hope, and, above all, you made us safe," he said.