Schoharie celebrates recovery 2 years after Irene
“I saw water lines. I couldn’t believe how high they were, you could just completely see the discoloration of how high the water was. 6 inches to a foot.”
It’s hard to believe that what Spencer Schmerzler is describing happened in this valley just two years ago. “Houses completely demolished you would be amazed at how much water can do,” he says.
He, like many, volunteered his time to help rebuild Schoharie after tropical storms Irene and Lee hit, one house at a time. He says he’s still astounded by the aftermath of the storms — not the rain, but the way the town banded together to help one another get back on their feet.
“Just seeing how the community came together and become one to help anyone who ever needed help whether it was food, clothing, shelter. It was really amazing.”
As summer winds down, organizations formed in the wake of Irene and Lee are celebrating their accomplishments.
“We have a few more to meet our goal of 15 total rebuilds for the summer but we’re well on our way,” Jerrine Corallo, volunteer director at SALT tells us.
About 1000 properties have been surveyed and of those, 63 percent have completed construction. Significant progress from this time last year when that number was just 21 percent. But still, two years later, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in this community.
“We’ve got a ways to go and yes, I think we did expect that and acknowledge that the recovery would be a long term process but we’re in it for the long haul,” Corallo says.
In the meantime, the Schoharie area’s long term recovery is looking ahead to fall, rebuilding the 37 percent of properties still in need of their help. If you’d like to help with recovery efforts, or find out about future fund raising events visit saltrecovery.org