Selectman: Emergency responders showed “unparalleled commitment” to residents

by susan on October 31, 2012

It will be no surprise to hear Hurricane Sandy has kept Southborough emergency responders, town employees, and volunteers busy: from the preparations last week, to storm response on Monday, and now to the aftermath and clean up.

Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney spent much of Monday in the town’s Emergency Operations Center as the storm raged outside, and observed the response efforts first-hand. In a comment on My Southborough yesterday, he offered up his thanks.

Although I should wait to send out a “thank you” message until all efforts are completed, I wanted to inform the town of some of the efforts I witnessed and participated in during this historic storm. In addition to the numerous conferences over the weekend, the performance of the Southborough Emergency Management Agency, all town department heads, town employees, and numerous town volunteers was truly beyond all expectation and it was sincerely an honor to be a participant.

On behalf of the BOS, I want to personally thank every individual who selfishly dedicated their entire day caring for our town. I recognize that there is a risk in failing to note the names of many that may not have passed through my radar. I apologize in advance to those individuals, but wanted to thank the following, and certainly in no particular order: Selectman Boland, Mark Purple, Chiefs Mauro and Moran, former Chief John Mauro, Lieutenant Neal Aspesi, Karen Galligan, Phil Rinehart, Doreen Ferguson, Sherri Lajeunesse, Carol Willoughby, Steve Whynot, Matt Braccio, Robert Lagasse, Carol Yazzo, E.J. Purcell, David Docksteader, Tom Muise, and Mark Spruill. Thank you especially to each and every police officer, firefighter and DPW employee who worked throughout the day and into the night. The town’s employees evinced a commitment reflective of their dedication to public service.

Special recognition goes out to the dedicated volunteerism of Steve Whynot and Matt Braccio. Steve and Matt acted as proverbial pin balls, chainsaw in hand, going from one fallen tree in the roadway to the next – again, and again, and again. Their efforts in conjunction with the crew from the DPW kept most roadways passable, excepting those roadways where we are required to yield to the utilities. Covered with gas, oil and sawdust, sweat dripping from the faces, they performed their efforts not for any compensation or recognition; their sole motivation was to help the residents in town, and for that we should all be extremely thankful.

The quantity and quality of work performed by all of these people, often unasked and generally unseen, was a true testament to what makes our town such a great place to live and work. Every resident concern was immediately addressed and the town did everything in our power to lessen the magnitude of this powerful storm. When a call came into to the Operations Center, it was immediately routed to the individual or individuals assigned to that particular task; when those individuals were not available, others immediately jumped in. No one sat around and did nothing: Mr. Purple could be seen moving downed trees on the roadway with Chief Mauro, Phil Rinehart was personally inspecting town building damage and a leak on the fire station roof during the height of the storm, while Chiefs Mauro and Moran orchestrated the moves of their entire departments without ever once requesting additional assistance. Ms. Galligan’s coordination of her department was amazing, never hesitating or thinking twice about what needed to be done to help the town. As Ms. Galligan left the Operations Center last night, finally on her way home to her family, the skies opened up once again and a deluge of rain greeted her departure. That was the type of day it was. And all of this activity was overseen and systematically managed in a professional and calm manner by our Director of Operations, Lieutenant Neal Aspesi of the Southborough Fire Department.

Our town’s Emergency Operations have become a model now being emulated by other towns. This is not something that just falls into place or is developed over night. It is a process that has been years in the making and it is a process that I did not know existed. I do know that it is something that we as a town are incredibly lucky to have.

Thank you again everyone for your unselfish approach to your town, your dedication to your job, and your unparalleled commitment to our residents.

John Rooney

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