Monday, October 23, 2006

Update on BonaReponds Buffalo Clean up

Update on BonaResponds Buffalo Storm Cleanup.

What: BonaResponds Buffalo Clean Up Day: over 40 homes were completed!

Where: Base camp was in Lancaster Village Municipal building. Lancaster is a suburb South East of Buffalo.

When: Sunday October 22. We left St. Bonaventure at 9:25 AM. Returned about 7:00 PM.

What: The day went VERY well! Trees and storm debris were removed from over 40 homes (in fact 50 homes were actually completed, but some had been largely done prior to our arrival so those minor jobs will not be counted.)

In spite of wet and cold weather, about 60 volunteers gave up their Sunday to cut and haul tree debris left in the aftermath of the “October Surprise” snow storm that caused much damage across the Buffalo region. The work was done in the Village of Lancaster. The homes that were done were roughly half selected by the Lancaster emergency response program while responses to the Alumni email “blast”, word of mouth, and requests in the field made up the remainder of the jobs.

How: Upon arrival there was a very brief meeting in which we broke into teams cover the ten grids that made up Lancaster. Each team was provided with a map and a list of jobs.

Once at the job site, the work was often challenging as untold thousands of tons of downed limbs and trees had to be cut and hauled to the curb so that trucks could remove the debris to eventually be chipped. With chain saws buzzing constantly, volunteers untiringly dragged branches often larger than they were to the curb and into piles that reached over 8 feet in some cases.

In addition to the jobs previously lined up, many additional jobs were picked up as volunteers spoke with residents and learned of an elderly or disabled person in the neighborhood who needed assistance. It was often these jobs that proved the most rewarding. Indeed, on numerous occasions the residents were so happy that the job (remember it was a job that they simply could not do) that they offered food to the volunteers and even cried for joy.

A pizza and wings dinner was held which served as the nightly meeting at which each team shared their stories. One nice addition to this dinner was that a local resident (whose house we did NOT do) came in and spoke. Fighting back tears, he gave an emotional address in which he told what our work had meant to his neighbors that we had helped.

The Mayor of Lancaster also spoke. He told of the long hours his crews were putting in and how many local residents still needed help.

We will be doing it again this coming Sunday. The work may change slightly as we venture further into different regions. However the impact of the work will remain the same. Please come out if you can and get others to come as well! One of our projects will be Delaware Park and the amount of work there is enormous. We will need all the help we can muster and then some!

Come on out, rain or shine, it will be fun and many people will be helped.

Special thanks to Scott, Terry, Linda and everyone from the Lancaster Emergency Management team. They really made volunteering easy! Also to Wegmans and Park and Shop for donations of food and supplies. And an extra special thanks to David Campbell and Handson Disaster Response for their generous donation of chain saws!


All in all a wonderful day!!

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