From the Executive Director - Robert McGuire
Though months have passed since we suffered through superstorm Sandy, followed by a snowstorm that caused additional problems, many continue to live with the difficult aftermath including loss of home, business, job and possessions.
While tragedy and devastation remain, our spirits are lifted by tales of generosity and heroism brought to us by the media as well as personal experiences passed on by neighbors, families, and colleagues.
Our story at ucpn mirrors many of the challenges and difficulties that much of our communities have faced. We needed to move residents out of our Freeport home and our two homes in Long Beach on Sunday prior to the storm. Thinking proactively, our maintenance team flew into action ensuring a safe evacuation and transition for all residents.
Our own staff at ucpn during the storm went above and beyond -- leaving their families and choosing to dedicate themselves to the individuals we serve during the most trying of times. Numerous staff members worked multiple shifts and some worked for days straight to ensure the safety and well being of the individuals we serve. We know that most of these staff were without
utilities during the same time the residences were, and that some of them sustained significant personal losses. In an unmistakable expression of dedication and professionalism, ucpn staff worked as if their only concerns were those of the individuals in their care.
We cancelled the 60th Annual Forget Me Not Ball and the Festival of Trees, difficult events to pass on but it was a unanimous decision for all. Our Development Department, our Volunteer Leadership, including the full Board realizing a celebration with so many still suffering so much, was not appropriate.
On a bright spot, over 60 decorated Christmas trees, not used by the Festival were delivered by CLC students to students in Long Beach, bringing a touch of joy to community that needed it. We were pleased to have help from volunteers from the “Tunnel to Towers Foundation” Hurricane Relief Effort in cleaning up our damaged Long Beach home.
So what’s the current status? We have assessed damage both to our facilities as well as to the interruption of business; we are adding up costs of overtime, gas, equipment and supplies, and other losses. We are ascertaining what is salvageable and what’s not. We have reoccupied the Freeport home but await more progress before we move back to our Minnesota house and the Pennsylvania home is still a question mark. We had no insurance for our Long Beach homes but fortunately do have insurance for the Deisman house where the damages are approximately $75,000. We have been in contact with FEMA, OPWDD and our insurance brokers, and have employed a public adjuster to best protect our interests and explore all possible avenues of assistance. Recovery and restoration will occur at ucpn as it most likely will do so in surrounding neighborhoods but it will take time.
Again, I am aware of so many acts of kindness and goodness that I couldn’t possibly name them all. These are examples of the goodness and support that represent the cornerstone of our agency, that have kept us going for 65 years now and that, we trust, will continue to keep ucpn strong and effective for decades to come. Knowing that we can count on your caring and support makes the daunting challenges we face less daunting.