Barbara Gref | Democrat
PASTOR NANCY ASBURY of the For Faith Parish of five Sullivan County Presbyterian Churches spoke at Thursday's flood meeting in Roscoe. She said Presbyterian work crews would continue to clean up and rebuild.
Despair Follows Devastation in Roscoe
By Barbara Gref
ROSCOE August 14, 2007 A crowd of flash flood victims gathered in the Rockland Firehouse last Thursday night. The message they heard was a louder version of one they already knew: There is no government disaster assistance coming their way.
Though the meeting was designed to give tidbits of information such as how to have their homes pass a new building inspection and how to contact various social services agencies, the topic that was hammered over again and again was the lack of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assistance for the dozens of residents along the ripped up Route 206 and roads like the flooded out Holiday and Berry Brook.
Many of those present lost their homes or suffered tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the houses, outbuildings and properties in the flash flood of June 19 which killed four of their friends and neighbors and swept four houses completely away.
They were disgusted, frustrated and in some cases, angry.
“When it comes to paying taxes, everybody pays their taxes,” said John Cassese, who lives on Holiday Brook Road, a road that is nearly impassable and will not be fixed anytime soon. “But when it comes to help, nobody’s there.”
Residents have been told the damages were not severe enough to allow for FEMA assistance for individuals and households, though governments such as the Town of Colchester and Delaware County will get FEMA money, up to a point.
So residents Thursday night listened as town and county officials talked about the millions of dollars in damage that was done and about the roads and bridges still needing to be repaired or replaced.
“If there is that much damage, how the hell can they turn us down?” said Paul Piatek, who lives along Route 206, a main road which remains closed through October.
The little bit of good news that residents got came from places like the For Faith Parish of Presbyterian Churches in Sullivan County the parish of five churches organized and supported a clean up and building drive and remains committed to helping.
The Methodist Church in Downsville is also continuing to help. Social services agencies such as Rural Delaware County said they had ways to help with housing for those who qualified.
Local officials and New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer have now also applied to the federal Small Business Association for assistance. The SBA can give low-interest loans to business as well as homeowners in order to rebuild and repair.
But many in the audience Thursday worried they would not be able to qualify and that they’d be hard-pressed to pay back a loan even if they were able to get one.
You Can Help
• Sunday, Aug. 19, at 11 a.m. at the Roscoe Firemen’s Field, United Church of Roscoe presents “Life of the Party,” an intergenerational musical production with skits and solos including drama and a bit of comedy. All Proceeds benefit M & T Flood Account. All are welcome. Call Lucille at 607-498-4936 for more information.
• Sunday, Aug. 19, at 12 noon, the Fairway Inn will be hosting a Poker Run to benefit the Flood Relief Fund. Registration will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants may utilize two wheels or four, whichever is their preference. The price is $20 per single person and $30 per couple, and there will be live music, free food, giveaways and a 50/50 drawing. For more information, please contact Don or Bunny at the Fairway Inn at 607-498-6133.
• A benefit auction for the flood fund will be held Saturday, Sept. 29; this is being organized by Lisa Chesney and others in the Roscoe community. Details will be announced. Call 439-4423 for more information or to help.
• Country Stores, Inc., which is owned by Dick and Tee Verona, has agreed to match all of the funds raised in the red “Flood Benefit” buckets within their Country stores.
• To give to the flood fund, send donations to: “The Flood Relief Fund” M & T Bank, Stewart Avenue, Roscoe, NY 12776.