Township honors employees, volunteers for efforts during Sandy

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UPPER TOWNSHIP – Township committee Friday honored employees and volunteers who helped the township prepare and respond to Hurricane Sandy.

Committee members unanimously approved a proclamation honoring emergency management officials, township employees, school district officials, CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) volunteers, State Police, firefighters, the rescue squad and those in Township Hall who pitched in during the storm.

Mayor Richard Palombo said they went “way over and above the call of duty” during a five-day span before and after Hurricane Sandy made land fall.

“Nobody was more proud than I was,” Palombo said. “You really rose to the occasion.”

Committeeman Jay Newman said emergency responders made “the township and this committee look good.”

“It was highlighted by the hurricane but I hope people realize that this goes on year-round,” he added.

Palombo said emergency management officials started preparing for the storm two days before it made landfall on Oct. 29. They stayed in Township Hall and slept there overnight to keep residents informed about the storm, he said.

Public works employees worked overtime to clean up and remove debris in Strathmere. Firefighters and the rescue squad responded to numerous emergency calls and rescue squad members contacted residents with health needs before and after the storm, he said.

CERT volunteers from Ocean City provided assistance and care at the middle school shelter. More than 160 people and their pets were housed in the shelter, Palombo said.

“These people were there around the clock,” he said.

Palombo also thanked school officials for providing the middle school as a shelter.

Thanks also went out to the State Police who enforced evacuation efforts and provided security at the middle school during the storm. Officials in Township Hall, including former clerk Wanda Gaglione, new clerk Barbara Young and engineer Paul Dietrich were also honored in the proclamation.

“Paul kept our website going and is now facilitating FEMA aid,” Palombo said. “Wanda and Barbara have been great getting records for residents. It helps return a semblance of normalcy to residents.”




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