Over 1,700 Westporters are still without power. Restoration continues slowly.
Wednesday’s storm — the 2nd in 5 days — took its toll on much of New York and New England.
But as we’re recovering from that double whammy, let’s realize how good we actually have it.
Our public officials and town employees really earned their pay this week. In no particular order, we owe huge thanks to:
Westport Police Department. They’ve been vigilant in responding to calls, assessing damage, helping work crews, and keeping the town safe and secure. They’re stretched thin — but every man and woman on the force responded. (NOTE to impatient citizens: Those traffic barricades are up for a reason. Click on the video from New Jersey below — but beware. It’s gruesome.)
Westport Fire Department. At the height of the storm Wednesday night, they answered literally hundreds of calls. From live wires and fallen trees to actual fires, they covered the town. They were often the first eyes on an incident, and they coordinated expertly with other town offices. On Thursday and through today, they’ve kept going. Their red trucks — and the firefighters on them — are a truly welcome sight. And they seem to be everywhere.
Public Works Department. They’re the guys who are actually out there, working all day and night. They plow the roads, remove the trees, and do all the other dirty work that enables the rest of us to carry on with our lives. It’s tough, demanding, physical work. And they haven’t had a break in days.
First Selectman Jim Marpe. He’s the man at the top. His calm, efficient yet commanding presence has inspired everyone else — at the emergency operations center, and in the field — to do their jobs. Jim believes in public service, and he makes sure every public official serves the town well.
Everyone else in emergency operations too. I don’t know everyone’s names. But quietly and effectively, they managed back-to-back storms with professionalism and care.
Superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer. She had to make difficult, irrevocable, damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t choices about closing school. That comes with the territory. But she went above and beyond, communicating often and clearly about how and why she made those decisions. Today she threaded the needle — opening school, but not penalizing students for absences, and postponing all tests and quizzes. She “weathered” criticism with grace — and kept thousands of youngsters safe.
School maintenance staffs. They shoveled tons of heavy snow, and did all the other work, to ensure that schools could open today. They were there at the height of the storm. No one saw what they did — but today we noticed how much they did.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten other key men and women in town. If you know anyone I’ve missed, click “Comments” below.
Public Works takes care of downed trees. Police put up barricades. It takes a village to help our town weather 2 storms since last Friday. (Photo/Janette Kinnally)