Sandy Efforts Lauded By Hopatcong Officials
Governing body recognizes police, EMTs, public works members and others for response.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo and the Borough Council gave thanks and presented certificates of appreciation to borough employees Wednesday for their efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Capt. Dan Rodriguez accepted the award for the ambulance squad; public works superintendent Ron Jobeless accepted the award for his department; dispatchers Liz Faatz and Pat Moschella were cited for their efforts; Fire Chief Wade Crowley, Police Chief Bob Brennan and Capt. Tina Kraus, who accepted the award for the police department, and emergency management coordinator Patrolman Robert Hafner were also honored.
Councilman Michael Francis said the efforts “show the fiber of the community.”
Petillo said many things happened during Sandy “that changed us and made us stronger.”
“Our first responders are so wonderful and sometimes we rely on them so much we forget that they left their families and their homes to protect our community,” she said. “They were not immune to personal loss. Indeed, many of them suffered significant property damage themselves and left their own loved ones in cold, dark homes so they could continue to work everyday and serve our residents.”
In addition dealing with the storm's aftermath, Petillo said, borough employees had to set up an election and prepare for a second storm that threatened the region.
The ambulance squad responded to 58 medical emergencies during the storms, she said, and cared for those staying in the regional emergency shelter at the high school. The squad also offered transportation from homes to the shelter and from the shelter to hospitals, she said.
The public works department cleared streets of trees and fallen wires, and opened roads so the emergency vehicles could get through, Petillo said.
They are still cleaning brush and debris from the storm, she said.
Faatz and Moshchella were recognized for their handling of the hundreds of calls that came into the dispatch center.
“It takes a very special kind of person to respond to people who are scared, angry and venting during a disaster,” Petillo said.
The fire department responded to seven structure fires, 11 other fires, one brush fire, 13 carbon monoxide alarms and two fire alarms during the storms, she said.
They also transported a bed-ridden partly paralyzed resident, and his bed, to the shelter, she said. They used their own vehicles to removed debris from roads, helped their neighbors and made many runs to the county for ice and water.
Capt. Tina Kraus and Lt. Tom Kmetz of the police department found ways to keep communications flowing during the emergency, Petillo said. Hafner coordinated the effort and set up a shelter that was recognized by national media as the top local shelter they had seen, she said.
Hafner showed resourcefulness, durability and leadership, and handled every crisis, “and there were plenty of them,” Petillo said.