Galloway equipment was just what hard-hit towns needed

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GALLOWAY – The community’s good fortune in not being hit harder by Hurricane Sandy was shared with its neighbors to the east.

“It was kind of a big shared services idea,” Mayor Don Purdy told The Current Tuesday, Nov. 6. “Last Friday, after we were mostly cleaned up, I called Mayors Phil Guenther of Brigantine, Mike Becker of Margate, Mike Bagnell of Ventnor and Nick Russo of Longport.”

The mayor said he offered Galloway’s help in any way it could.

“Mayor Guenther said he had a request that he didn’t know if anybody could fill,” Purdy said. “He lost fire engines in the storm and needed a replacement.”

Purdy said he called Township Manager Arch Liston and received approval to provide a fire truck to Brigantine if it was feasible.

Next he called Tim McKenna, who will become township fire chief in January. He, in turn, called Chuck Mackintosh, chief of the Bayview Fire Company, who had an out-of-service truck housed at his station.

“Within one hour we put a fire truck together for Brigantine,” Purdy said. “They used spare parts to make the out-of-service truck whole for them. It was delivered Saturday a.m.”

Another request came Sunday.

“Late Sunday night I got a call from Mayor Russo in Longport,” Purdy said. “It was a request for equipment to help move sand. I met Monday morning with the manager and public works director Kevin McDowell.”

McDowell said Galloway’s hurricane luck was not remotely shared by Longport.

“Galloway Township was fortunate to only receive minimal damages from Hurricane Sandy, whereas the barrier islands sustained severe flooding, and sand washed over most streets,” McDowell said Wednesday. “I was asked by Mayor Purdy to reach out to Longport supervisor Bill Trinkle to offer assistance with any equipment we could spare in aiding in their cleanup process.”
After several conversations, they agreed that Galloway would send two wheel loaders with front grapple attachments Tuesday, along with a few operators.

Longport public works directed the project.

“The equipment was used to collect and load containers with residential damaged goods placed curbside – .e. sofas, rugs, sheetrock, lumber, and a wide range of household items,” McDowell said. “Galloway Township’s intentions where to resume operations on Wednesday and Thursday; however, with the pending nor’easter approaching, we decided to hold off any operations and move our equipment back to Galloway in the event we ourselves would need these two essential pieces of equipment.”

Trinkle told McDowell Tuesday that it was apparent they had made some headway in making a difference in a neighboring community.

“Bill expressed his heartfelt gratitude,” McDowell said. “I would like to thank Mayor Purdy for bringing this to our attention. Also, the three Galloway employees aiding in the operation, ‘Longport Aid.’ They are Ray Guerra, Jeff Brady and Jack Schenker. These employees are what make this possible. It was a humbling experience to know that we made a difference.”

The mayor said he couldn’t be prouder of the township’s employees and the way they are always looking to be of assistance.

“Galloway was spared,” Purdy said. “As soon as we opened our roads, we looked to help others who weren’t as lucky.”

He said it was obvious that other communities were in need of help.

“I would hope that they’d help us if the situations were reversed,” Purdy said. “We are happy to have been able to do a large shared service to help residents of Atlantic County.”

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