East Hampton officials will formally announce on Monday an effort underway to help out a community on the other end of Long Island that was devastated in Hurricane Sandy.
On Sunday, the first caravan of supplies made the 120-mile ride from Montauk to Breezy Point, a seaside neighborhood in Queens, on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula, that was inundated by flooding and ripped through by fire spurred from the hurricane.
Just a few days ago, Dennis O'Reilly, a Montauk homeowner whose parents have a house on Breezy Point, explained the depth of the damage he found in his hometown during a phone call with East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. He wanted to borrow a truck to take supplies to the residential community dominated with firefighters and police.
"We were spared a lot as compared to the tragedy that has taken place to the west," Wilkinson said and he thought, "Wouldn’t it be nice to pay that forward and identify a sister community that’s in need of help?"
Along with O'Reilly, a retired FDNY firefighter, Wilkinson and Town Police Chief Ed Ecker, both of whom live in Montauk, got together with Montauk Fire Department officials and business owners, to gather supplies and they packed up trucks early Sunday morning. A town police car escorted four trucks jam packed full of fresh towels, water, ice — donated by Gosman's — and some food.
Amagansett Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Allen Bennett Jr. drove one of the trucks with fellow members Bill Beckert and Debbie DiSunno. O'Reilly was joined by other Montaukers Joey Lenahan, Dutch Rege and Dave Mambrino. The town sent Police Officer Peter Murray and Ricky Talmage.
Ecker, Wilkinson, and Wilkinson's assistant Johnson Nordlinger helped pack the vehicles this morning, along with many others.
"I think so far this has been a great, great response," Wilkinson said.
"It’s a good way for our community to respond and help those people," he said. "I don’t want to discount any of the difficulties we’ve had, but on a scale basis they’re nothing compared to that."
Details will be announced on Monday on how the community at large can help and what supplies are needed. "The focus this week, because of the weather, will be gloves, blankets, sweaters, hoods, items like that," he said.
Breezy Point "happens to be the most western community that resembles our communities out here," Wilkinson said. "Maybe other townships and villages will try and replicate it for other communities."