By David C. Shampine
The Carthage Republican Tribune
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — A fully loaded truck arrived shortly before 2 p.m. Friday at the Long Beach Fire Department in Nassau County with cleaning products, toys and bottled water donated by Jefferson County businesses and individuals to aid in Hurricane Sandy recovery.
"It may seem like a small gesture to send cleaning supplies and toys to some people," Long Beach Fire Chief Richard Corbett said in an email, "but when you have to rebuild an entire city, it means the world to us. The people in your town took time to help total strangers, so all I can do is say thank you. I will never forget your generosity, and I hope to one day be in your town to personally thank you all."
The shipment, the first portion of the "We Remember" effort here to assist the hurricane-ravaged county, was taken in a truck provided by Barry Waite, owner of Waite Toyota, who also supplied gasoline for the trip and paid the driver, Paul Jantzi of Lowville. Major contributors of supplies were Super Formula Products, Tops Market, Hannaford Superstore, Stature Electric, Walmart, the Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Association and the Northpole Volunteer Fire Department.
Meanwhile, a cash fund has grown to $1,925. Money in the fund, administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation, eventually will be forwarded to the Nassau County Hurricane Recovery Fund, where grants will be made to individuals showing a need caused by the hurricane.
The chairman of the Nassau County fund told the Times there will be no administrative costs extracted from donated money.
Checks still may be sent to the Community Foundation at 120 Washington St., Watertown, N.Y. 13601. The words "Nassau County" should be written on the memo line.
The local effort is intended to return the favor provided to Jefferson County by 20 volunteer fire departments from Nassau County following the major ice storm of January 1998.
"The chief and Assistant Chief R.J. Tuccillo were most impressed with our theme of 'We Remember,’" said Joseph L. Rich, co-chairman of the drive, who accompanied Mr. Jantzi on the trip.
Eight or nine firefighters were at the fire department awaiting the truck’s arrival, Mr. Rich said.
"The firemen just couldn’t believe that we would care so much about them that we would fill a large box truck" for them, he said.
Chief Corbett gave the two visitors a tour of the hardest-hit section of the city.
"He showed us the water mark on the side of the various buildings measuring three or four feet high. There was a tremendous amount of damage to facilities on the beach itself, where structures were laid to waste," Mr. Rich said.
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