November 23, 2012

Distress leads to community recovery

Last week in a story in The Record-Review, residents recounted the ways that the recent weeks of extreme weather and tragedy, both local and regional, added to a sense of distress. Feelings of unaccountable fear, anxiety and an inability to accomplish ordinary tasks were explained by local mental health care professionals as natural, a result of the extreme conditions brought about by Hurricane Sandy.

“Disruption in routine can be extremely difficult, and the extended duration of this event has left people feeling overwhelmed and exhausted,” said Catherine Gillet, a clinical social worker. “Being uprooted from the familiarity of our home, schedule, school and work, and worry over the safety of self and others, is anxiety provoking, which, if prolonged, can leave us feeling depleted and despondent.”

In additional to the weather, when we consider the anxiety and impact of a major national election, impending “fiscal cliff,” rocket attacks in Israel and the Gaza Strip, and a host of other world catastrophes that infect us with a sense of powerless.

Yet despite all, this is precisely the time when a sense of community is born. We have received many letters from residents expressing in the deepest terms their gratitude for the efforts and support of their neighbors.

After the storm, when the lights were out, many of us found new connections; for example, the barbecue in Pound Ridge at Scotts Corners Market, in which hundreds of residents without the wherewithal to cook for themselves shared the bounty of the market. Volunteers pitched in at the grill, and it became a night that few will forget. In dozens of other situations, neighbors helped clear roads, chainsawed trees on properties and offered shelter in their homes, literally providing showers, a night of TV for small children or a telephone to call a relative. In Bedford Hills, librarian Kathy Storfer described how members of the Bedford Hills Chamber of Commerce pitched in to lead a post-storm “Trick or Treat” trek through the hamlet, brightening little spirits. Ethel and Morris Renek of Pound Ridge told us how they made many new friends, and how much they appreciated the hot meals, water and dry ice. Others, particularly in hard-hit Pound Ridge, where power was out in many locations for more than two weeks, residents expressed gratitude for help they received from the town’s office of emergency management, Neighbor to Neighbor, and individuals like councilmen Dick Lyman and Jon Powers, supervisor Gary Warshauer, and police chief Dave Ryan.

As we saw the magnitude and the damage in other areas like the Rockaways and Staten Island, we obtained a sense of perspective and shrugged off our own sense of impatience and frustration.

So many of us stepped out of our comfort zone and took the required action to help those most hard-hit during the storm. As neighborhood residents have done in the wake of storms and disasters further afield — Haiti after the quake, New Orleans after Katrina — groups organized and gathered to travel to Staten Island, Red Hook or the Rockaways. “The photos of Staten Island cannot possibly convey the damage that I saw, which was, according to a bystander I spoke with, nothing compared to what had happened further down the coast of the island,” wrote Katonah’s Nancy Gernert in an email enlisting volunteers. “Nor can the photos allow you to hear the sound of the military helicopters that were flying all over the place, transporting emergency response teams and supplies to the people affected there. It was absolutely surreal.”

St. Patrick’s Parish in Bedford organized a trip down to New York City, specifically the storm-ravaged neighborhood of Far Rockaway, to donate food and supplies. Susan Trumpbour, a parishioner of St. Patrick’s, helped organize the donations and carry supplies, including 3 1/2 truckloads of food to neighborhoods devastated by coastal flooding.

There is more help to come. Many citizens have contacted us with broad and important visions on how to cope with future storms, including practical ideas for prevention and response. Abbott Fleur, the founding member of the Bedford-Armonk Rotary Club, said his organization and others in the area are putting on a fundraising event for victims of the storm at an undetermined date in early December at the Mount Kisco Holiday Inn. The event, titled “Songs of Salvation for Sandy,” is slated to feature a collection of musicians who were supposed to perform at the New York City Marathon before its cancellation due to the hurricane.

A general angst remains in the air, especially with the alarming news of the acceleration of global warming, its effects on our planet, and the obstacles to turning the corner environmentally. This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the neighbors, volunteers and friends who make it possible for us to wake up every morning and try to set things right.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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