Wingdale Resident Donna Harden posted a plea for assistance on the Wingdale-Dover Plains Community Connection Facebook Group page on Friday, November 2, 2012. This particular request came from Kathie Decker, originally from Hyde Park and was for household supplies for the homeless in NJ & Staten Island. The response from Dover was immediate, and seemed all the more remarkable given the projects already underway to help those in our community without power, fresh water and food, and enough blankets.
Thread from the Wingdale-Dover Plains Community Connection, Sunday, November 4th, 2012:
From Donna Harden, Wingdale, NY:
“Thank you to everyone who was able to help out with donations in the last couple of days!! We had fantastic response from our community [Dover, NY.] I want to fill you in on a note that came from the driver of the truck and update you on what he experienced. I am sharing our truck driver’s Facebook post about our 1st truck delivery. Please read.”
From Bill Murnane, the Truck Driver:
4 hours ago [approx 8:30pm, Sunday evening]
“Fresh back from Staten Island. The first thing I noticed was some cars and trucks on the side of the highway, I found out they ran out of fuel and there was none to be had. Under a clear blue sky, everything seemed normal. Planes landing at airports, the bay gleaming in the sun and traffic was the lightest I had ever seen it. When I got off the highway there was a damaged billboard saying “No Rush Hour on the Boardwalk, Do Atlantic City”, [not sure of this wording on the billboard – probably not “do” but “to” – couldn’t find on internet] I thought Sandy must have read that.
Right away I noticed no traffic lights. The closer I got to the water front, the worse things were. Garbage berms in front of houses, cops in their own cars (cop cars were either destroyed or had no gas ) and cars thrown around like Matchboxes in a 4 year olds imagination. The church I went to wanted to pick and choose the donations off my truck, down the road I went. Several donation points with large signs saying “NO CLOTHES”. Well I had a half of truck load of clothes (good, clean and mostly new) and a 1/2 a truck load of food. I found a grassroots donation point that was happy to take everything, including but grudgingly, the clothes.
We opened the truck and out of nowhere appeared displaced Marathon Runners, turned tourists, turned rescue volunteers who emptied the truck. An 8 year old girl grabbed a new winter jacket and clutching it to her chest ran to her mother exclaiming “It’s perfect, it’s perfect”. Two mothers were sitting on the ground with bags of diapers, formula, wipes and onesies, quietly weeping. One lady comes up to me and starts hugging me because we remembered the pets and brought pet food. Five people grabbed cleaning supplies and ran off to help strangers clean up their houses. I took the organizers number and asked what was specifically needed….
I shook everyone’s hands, received some overzealous hugs and took off to home, feeling guilty that I had enough gas to get there.”
Follow-up from Donna Harden:
“There is this wonderful woman at my daughters world challenge cheer squad, (her name is Kathie Decker) She wanted to do something, so she made some calls, and was able to make it happen, and she did indeed! Then the gym came together once we knew we were able to do something. Myself, living a half hr. away thought it would be a good way for anyone in our community who would like to help but wasn’t sure how, (like myself) so that’s when I put word out, I would sit and wait for donations and deliver them to Poughkeepsie, with the help of the kind Mike Purcell who offered to help me transfer the items. And then the wonderful Bill Murnane (truck driver) would drive it and deliver to all in need. Thank you Kathy Decker, Bill Murnane, Mike Purcell, our community and everyone at World Challenge All Stars. I love that place, and I love our Town!!”