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Volunteer Responders Honored by Hopatcong Council

CERT team acclaimed for service during and after Hurricane Sandy.

The attacks of Sept 11, 2001 brought Steve Millian to the training for volunteers who in 2005 would form the Hopatcong Community Emergency Response Team.

Hurricane Sandy brought him and his team to Hopatcong High School where for two weeks they supported and comforted community members who had been driven from their homes by the storm.

Millian and many of the 50 members of the team were present at a recent council meeting as Mayor Sylvia Petillo and the Borough Council thanked them for their service.

“We depend on you so much,” Petillo said, “And you never complain. You make all the difference.”

Millian, the CERT team leader, said that after Sept. 11, he felt he wanted to help his community.

He was clearly proud of his team’s efforts during Sandy.

“We were at that school for a full two weeks,” he said.

Hopatcong has the only single-municipality CERT team in Sussex County, Petillo  said. The other is operated by the county.

The concept originated in Los Angeles in 1985, and a 1987 earthquake solidified the idea that trained civilians could help in disaster response, Petillo said.

CERT training was initiated in Sussex County in 2005, and Hopatcong endorsed the idea.

CERT volunteers are trained to assist neighbors, businesses, and government agencies, and in an emergency become auxiliary responders, Petillo said.

“These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will help professional responders,” she said.

Hopatcong’s CERT team has assisted in missing persons searches, conducted disaster drills at local schools, and in 2007, participated in a major exercise at Picatinny Arsenal.

But it was the care and attention they showed those at the shelter that meant the most, Petillo said. CERT members were patient and caring in a very difficult situation.

“Whenever needed, they are ready, willing and able to assist at a moment’s notice,” the mayor said.

CERT members receive 10 to 12 weeks of basic training, and three weekends of training in basic fire and police procedures, search and rescue, emergency medical operations and other safety and disaster readiness training, Petillo said.

The Hopatcong CERT team meets monthly at the senior center. Meetings are 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. The program is open to any borough residents 18 years or older. For information call (973) 810-8347.

Lakesider February 19, 2013 at 03:46 PM
"the care and attention they showed those at the shelter," was unnecessary. It would have been much more appreciated if they were out in the town actually helping the hundreds of people in need. The Red Cross and school affiliates had it completely and professionally covered at the shelter. CERT was not where they were needed during Sandy. They have been helpful many other times but they totally missed that call.
jazzman February 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM
3 months and your the only one they actually gets it,more over they should have been during a house to house on at least day 2 thats what i would have called a real assessment showing they give a hoot,fire police,cert team needed to go door to door,we got lucky and they`re taking some kind of credit for devine intervention
Michele Guttenberger February 19, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Also it is important to note that Steve Millian has received another award from the Mayor. The Council has just approved his full time position with the DPW. Congrats! Steve on your new full time position and all the benefits of a municipal employee of Hopatcong. It is a job you will deserve.
Ray Tierney February 19, 2013 at 07:41 PM
get your info straight the cert team opened the shelter caring for anyone who came anyone who wanted to go door to door in the storm would have become a victim not a help...ask anyone who was at the shelter if CERT was necessary. any other comments can be made by you when you come out and help.
Jeff Guttenberger February 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Hopatcong CERT receives it's orders from Hopatcong OEM. CERT was ordered to open and operate a shelter in HHS. CERT manpower was not available to conduct a house to house survey. In a wide spread disaster it is the moral repsonsibility of every able bodied citizen to help their neighbors. Hopatcong OEM will schedule a CERT training session in the spring. Join CERT, and be prepared to help your fellow Americans.
jazzman February 20, 2013 at 04:33 AM
what what what...door to door in the storm!!!!!...where oh where does it even come close to saying that....you and jeff need to get your stories straight,first neither one of you are in any way a spokes person for Cert,Fire, or PD,second your stories his story IS.....and i quote... " if you can get to the shelter you`ll get help other then that your on your own people"...HEY.....dont want to bust your little bubbles but if it wasnt for the Redcross things would been a whole different ballgame with all these BS awards
The Watcher February 20, 2013 at 04:27 PM
jazzman you missed the point first the cake and award then the full time job with benefits
jazzman February 20, 2013 at 10:12 PM
i was never told there would be cake too!,wait a sec isnt this the guy that took over for guy who water the plants in lower Modick,full medical and all the water you can drink.
The Watcher February 20, 2013 at 10:59 PM
no jazzman the WIFE of the guy who waters the plants in Modick is getting the full time office job. The guy getting the full time job is the CERT guy in the article. The Herald is making fun of us because the powers that be have the attitude "Let them eat cake" they seem to have cake at the meetings quite a bit, then they give out awards.
Ray Tierney February 21, 2013 at 04:04 AM
THOSE WHO CAN DO.. Those who can't hide behind a fake name, sit on their butts and talk about THOSE WHO CAN DO with all the wrong facts. don't be one of those "fake name people" use your real name and come on out and volunteer to help.
jazzman February 21, 2013 at 01:33 PM
sometimes i wonder why i use the word moronic... then i hear.... going door to door inside a storm like Sandy,and not think day 1 Tuesday or day 2 Wed or at least by day 3 Thursday.....a light bulb going off at least by that weekend but its now 3 months later ! your only comfirming my suspicions of the Certs,might need to start calling them the Green Team
The Watcher February 21, 2013 at 09:04 PM
@jazzman it is my understanding that her husband does the gardening for the town
Mason Francisco Sr. April 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Hooray for Jeff and Ray! Well Said! I am SO tired of those who sit around with nothing better to do then whine and complain about the people that freely gave of themselves in a time of need...exactly what were those whiners doing anyway? Oh, they were too busy selfishly looking out for number one. That kind of person hasn't got what it takes to serve their community. Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words...Want to earn respect? DO SOMETHING! ...or you could just read patch and whine.

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