Featured Letter: In our time of need


LESLIE CZELADKO PHOTO | A Shelter Island firefighter battles a fast moving blaze the night of February 6 on the second floor of the Belle Crest Inn on North Ferry Road.

 To the Editor:

This expression of thanks cannot begin to adequately convey our gratitude to all of those on Shelter Island who have helped us in our time of need.

The fire that erupted at the Belle Crest Inn the evening of Wednesday, February 6 could have ended in a very different and much more tragic way. By the grace of God and the immediate actions of Victoria and Ian Weslek, police, fire and ambulance crews were notified that our roof was on fire. Vicky’s loud shouts and Ian’s persistent banging and kicking of the front door alerted us that something was seriously wrong. We are indebted to you for this.

Thank you to Police Officers Tommy Cronin, Chris Drake and Detective Jack Thilberg for swiftly getting to our residence and ensuring we and the pets were all out of the Inn. There is heartfelt gratitude from us to the Fire Chiefs John D’Amato, Will Anderson and Greg Sulahian and to the rest of the department for such a quick response to the fire and for saving what you could. In addition, we have much appreciation for the assistance of EMS and the neighboring fire departments of Greenport and Sag Harbor and also many thanks to the Women’s Auxiliary for providing some comfort to us on that cold night. We wish we knew every one of you on all these volunteer services by name in order to personally express how grateful we are for your service to us and the entire Island. Correspondingly thank you to the North and South Ferry companies and crews for running late boats.

We must also thank Matt Goody’s efforts in coordinating with our wonderful neighbors Charlotte and Frank Cerasoli for temporary use of their home while we sort out our living situation. We also want to acknowledge the speedy efforts of Jimmy Olinkiewicz and his crew for securing the Inn from what was to be an imminent blizzard.

Lastly but certainly not any less significant, thank you to everyone who has reached out to us in some way, whether it be with a hot coffee, a tasty meal, a friendly phone call, a quick stop in our driveway to say hello, an offer of help or just a kind expression of encouragement.

In short, we simply cannot thank the community enough. All of you have our deepest appreciation; the love and support of Shelter Island will help us as we work towards getting back to normalcy.

Shelter Island

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