Shelter Island Reporter Editorial: A debt of gratitude

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A town plow on Bridge Street.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A town plow on Bridge Street.

Another winter storm, another superb job by town services.

The storm that blitzed the Island last Saturday was nothing compared with several nor’easters that visited the Island last winter and seemed to move in from January through March.  Last year, the Highway, Police and Fire departments, along with the Emergency Medical Services, all performed with exceptional speed, competence and dedication to keep the Island accessible and safe.

Residents were spoiled,  expecting a comparable effort this past weekend, and we got one.

Police Chief Jim Read, as the Island’s emergency management coordinator, had a plan in place and it was executed. As Chief Read said, “everyone was clicking.”

The Fire Department, under the leadership of Chief Greg Sulahian, fought a potentially catastrophic house fire in Long View at the height of the storm. Fighting a blaze in high winds demands precise coordination and extra effort by a team of firefighters to knock the fire down and keep  it from spreading to other structures.

The Island volunteers were swiftly on the scene and after two hours of work had the fire contained and then extinguished. As Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski noted, the neighborhood was protected, and although  a garage was destroyed, the rest of the house can be reconstructed.

The Highway Department, directed by Superintendent Jay Card Jr., kept Island roads accessible from the beginning of the storm, working all day Saturday and into the night. When a snow plow’s piston went south at the height of the blizzard, the crews got the truck and plow back to the shop, fixed it, and sent the truck back out to do battle against the storm once again.

“We can handle a storm like this without any problems,” Mr. Card said, downplaying the efforts he and his crews put in place Saturday.

Island residents owe a debt of gratitude to all the town employees and Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services volunteers who pitched in and kept us safe last weekend.