Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ilana Dubrovsky

DELIA GONZALES AND Raymond Ortiz found out they had more “family” than they knew when their apartment was ravaged by fire.

FD Family Helps
Brother in Need

By Ilana Dubrovsky
LOCH SHELDRAKE — August 13, 2004 – Firefighter Raymond Ortiz tells it like it is.
“Being a part of the fire department, when they say family, they mean it,” he said.
The Loch Sheldrake Fire Department coordinated a fundraising spaghetti supper August 11 to benefit Ortiz and his family after a flash fire claimed their apartment last month.
Early in the evening, shortly after the doors of the firehouse opened, people were already pouring in to grab dinner and help out a family in need.
The Ortiz family was living directly off Route 52, in the Middle Springs Apartment Building Complex.
Ortiz’s four children, Daniella, Robert, Emily, and Dillon noticed smoke pouring out of their brand new air-conditioner and notified Ortiz and their mom, his wife Delia Gonzales.
They were too late.
Almost all of the family’s belongings were destroyed during the fire.
The fire, however, did not spread beyond their apartment in the complex.
The extent of the fire damage to surrounding apartments was limited to water damage in the apartment below the Ortizes’.
Currently, the Ortiz family is residing in a neighboring apartment in the same general area. Most of their prized possessions will never be seen again.
Lorin Smith, vice president of the fire department, said, “They’re one of us, they’re our family here.”
Smith continued, “This fire department, in situations like this, really sticks together.”
The Ortizes do not have immediate family in the surrounding areas, but they have been encountering strangers who have been very supportive in contributing to the family.
“[Events such as these] make you believe in small towns. It gives people more of a sense of community,” said Gonzales.
“We don’t know how to say thank you,” Raymond Ortiz concluded.
Anyone who would like to send money or material contributions to the six person family, should mail donations to the Loch Sheldrake Fire Department care of Ray and Delia Ortiz, P.O. Box 1005, Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759.
For more information, call the fire department at 434-2710.

Democrat Photo by Ilana Dubrovsky

THE FOLKS FROM Livingston Manor’s Renaissance group earned the largest award this year. Sandra Gerry, left, and Alan Gerry, second from right, congratulate two of the key workers in Manor – Gerard Ilaria, second from left, and his partner Steve Wilkinson.

Renaissance Awards Go Toward Brighter Future

By Ilana Dubrovsky
LAKE HUNTINGTON — August 10, 2004 – Jacky Robisch’s words captured the true essence of Sullivan Renaissance.
“By working together, great things can be achieved,” the Delaware Valley Elementary principal said.
The opening of the awards ceremony at the Sullivan West High School in Lake Huntington included a performance of “America the Beautiful” by the Daytop Choir.
The awards ceremony for the top Renaissance projects was held Sunday. There were a total of 36 Sullivan Renaissance projects aimed at beautifying Sullivan County.
State Senator John Bonacic spoke on the improvements made within Sullivan Renaissance and its projects.
“Sullivan County is just warming up,” he said.
Head of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Jacquie Leventoff thanked Bonacic for his $20,000 contribution through the local chamber.
As for future Renaissance projects, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said, “As a representative, I am committed to continue funding for this project.”
Legislator Jodi Goodman and South Fallsburg in Bloom Renaissance member Ruby Gold distributed the seven seasonal communities awards. These awards were given to Sullivan’s summer residents who have upgraded their grounds to beautify the area.
The winners for these awards were Camp Blueberry Hill, Camp Simcha, Camp Winston, Helen Morrell Cottages, Our Kids Day Camp, Ten Mile River Scout Camp, and White Rock Colony.
Three environmental impact awards were given at the ceremony to those projects that addressed environmental issues and protected resources within the community.
The Jeffersonville JEMS worked to address concerns on erosion occurring in town, and the group was awarded first place and a $3,000 grant for their efforts. Livingston Manor Renaissance took second place and a $2,000 grant for planting trees and shrubs that provided for a better habitat for the surrounding wildlife.
The Wurtsboro Renaissance came in third place and won a $1,000 grant for using environment-friendly and recyclable materials.
Established by the SCCC Foundation, two scholarship awards were awarded to volunteers who had put an immense amount of effort into their projects.
Four-year part-time student Ruth Ann Rundle was awarded a $750 scholarship for collecting materials and cash, selling raffle tickets, and other duties for the Cochecton Center project. Second winner Kristin Mulvaney cleaned up Woodbourne by designing flower boxes, planting trees and shrubs, and numerous other tasks to improve the area.
All of the projects were separated into three categories: A, the smaller of the three projects, included signs and small improvements made on an area; B, included improvements made such as building a playground, information center, etc.; and C, the largest of the three projects that had made vast improvements on a street, town or general area.
The winners for the 2004 category A projects were:
• First place: Youngsville Environmenal Preservation Committee for building a sign and planting shrubs and trees in front of the Youngsville School. The committee was awarded a $3,000 grant.
• Second place: Rock Hill Sullivan First won a $1,500 grant for installing a welcome sign, bench, and various shrubs on the corner of Katrina Falls Road and Lake Louise Marie Road.
• Third place: A tie – Monticello First Baptist Church on Liberty Street for creating a sign and installing numerous flowerbeds along the walkway. The second winner was the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon and included a sign and beautification of the surrounding grounds. Each earned a $1,000 award.
Category B winners included:
• First place: Monticello Sullivan First won a $7,000 grant for their landscaping beautification efforts.
• Second place: Wurtsboro Renaissance won a $5,000 grant for flower planting, painting, and preparations for a new swingset at the Wurtsboro Children’s Park.
• Third place: Boy Scout Troop 96 of Liberty, under the direction of 16 year-old Michael VanDenberg targeted Walnut Mountain Park in creating a new playground and installing trees, flowers and shrubs. The project was awarded a $3,000 grant.
Category C winners included:
• First place: Livingston Manor Renaissance won a $20,000 grant for building new sidewalks, replacing old trash cans, installing 16 cherry trees and lining Main Street with hanging baskets.
• Second place: Grahamsville’s Daniel Pierce Library won a $10,000 grant for corridor beautification efforts throughout the town.
• Third place: Jeffersonville JEMS won $7,500 for installing a new gazebo, flowerbeds and landscaping.
One of the key players of the winning Livingston Manor Renaissance project, Gerard Ilaria, said, “We had a great time, we’re glad to get the recognition.”
Sullivan Renaissance is planning to hold the 2004 Showcase Awards ceremony on November 18. This award is given to the best improvement or creation of municipal buildings. Sullivan Renaissance is currently looking for nominations.
The 2003 Showcase Award went to the creation of the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School in Monticello.
The Sullivan Renaissance’s year-long projects are a direct result of the constant efforts of Alan and Sandra Gerry, who have strived to make Sullivan County a brighter county and a happier place to live.
In thanking the Renaissance volunteers, Sandra Gerry said, “Your enthusiasm is infectious to all of us – you have inspired us all.”

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