Expressing gratitude

Several days ago I invited anyone who wanted to; to email me at the Watershed Post with Thank You’s to people in Shandaken who they wanted to acknowledge -- for what they did for others, during and after the flooding.

We received a few responses, but I still hope to receive more. Who do you think deserves some recognition? Express your gratitude in a sentence (or two, or three) send it in, and I will include your personal expression of gratitude in a future dispatch.

Susan Penick shared this, while expressing overall gratitude to our volunteer fire fighters:

I want to let you know about Julien Vargas.  I work at the Phoenicia Library and have come to know him a bit there.  There is no more committed young man (I think he is 20 years old or younger) serving as a fire fighter.

On a similar note, Dave Smith shared this with me in person, while being interviewed for a Mount Tremper dispatch:

What impressed me the most when we were working down on Jay Street were the teenagers the Rotary Club recruited to help with clean up. They came with buckets, got down into those basements, and cleaned up all the muck. And they did it all with non-stop positive energy. You hear about kids if they get in trouble, but too often no one notices when they contribute to the community.

Sue Ann Jenkins managed to fluster me with this:

I thank you, Tom for your Dispatches.  My great aunt, Mary Kelly, lived in the Phoenicia area for most of her 101 years.  We would visit often from our home in Otsego County, staying a week or so in the summer.  I followed the Watershed Post for news about Phoenicia, the Esopus, Shandaken, and Woodland Valley when it all 'hit the fan.'

You capture the spirit of the place I remember,  'A place with winding roads traversing seemingly unending mountains, valleys, and ridges,' and bring back many wondrous memories.

Violet Snow sent us this expression of gratitude:

I am sure your readers will flood (oops!) you with praise for all the fabulous town workers and volunteers who pitched in, and they deeply deserve it.

I want to mention one group who might go unmentioned: The members of the Bruderhof Christian community in Kingston, who brought out students from their high school to offer assistance to homeowners in Shandaken. Except for me and the hardy guys we hired to tear out out wet insulation, those three teenage boys are the only people who braved my two-foot-high crawlspace to help clear out mud.

I wish to thank them, along with my stalwart neighbor Bud, my friend Glenn who has given massive amounts of repair advice, Mor who loaned me a wet-vac and wagon, the four women who helped clean out my mud-soaked garage (Debra, Cardi, Chris, and Laura), and all the dedicated town personnel.

Speaking about dedicated town workers and personnel, we all have John Horn to thank for his own effort to document all the hard work they and others did on our behalf, at the Emergency Operations Center set up in Phoenicia during the flooding crisis.

In John’s own words:

I put together some photos and narrative about the activity behind the scenes in Shandaken during the flood. It consists of a one-page web site:

I was tremendously impressed by what I saw, and how well the flood disaster was managed. Anything you can do to publicize this web site would be appreciated.

Consider it done, John. You can view it all at, but here is a preview teaser from his report, "Hurricane IRENE  .... Behind the scenes in Shandaken": 

…Everyone was on the job 24 hours a day, including the Ambulance Corps. Captain Rich Muellerleile (in the white shirt) put on extra crews and pre-positioned equipment so as to avoid being isolated by road or bridge washouts.


Despite the apparent chaos outside, the goal of the Emergency Operations Center was to ensure that everyone was informed, and knew what task was assigned to them. 

Communicating with the public was also essential, especially with no electricity, phones, TV, cable or internet. Signs were posted around Town ... not very pretty, but there was no time for a fancy POWERPOINT presentation! Green wrapping paper and duct tape did the job.

Remember to send in your own expression of gratitude to someone for an upcoming “Dispatch from Shandaken.”

Tom Rinaldo writes the Dispatches from Shandaken column for the Watershed Post's Shandaken page three times a week. Email Tom at [email protected].