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‘We Remember’ campaign will return the favor to Nassau County

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We remember January 1998.

Countless utility lines in Jefferson County were taken out by the heavy layers of ice that coated them.

The great ice storm had taken away our electrical service — everywhere. The lucky ones had power restored in a week or two; others suffered a lot longer.

Help flowed in from around the state, and from beyond state borders.

Nassau County proved to be a big benefactor, sending personnel and equipment from 21 of its fire companies.

Few, if any, of us lost our homes.

Now, after Superstorm Sandy, many are homeless in Nassau County. Among the hard-hit in Nassau are Freeport, Inwood, North Bellmore and Woodmere — communities that sent help to Jefferson County in 1998.

A number of us have not forgotten what Nassau County did for Jefferson County 14 years ago and we want to return the favor.

Rande S. Richardson, executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation, Joseph L. Rich and the Disabled Persons Action Organization, Douglas Anderson, a retiree of the Jefferson County Department of Social Services, and I are launching a campaign to help our friends there.

The first step in our effort is being initiated by Mr. Anderson. The donations of a truck and driver are needed to transport cleaning materials, diapers, baby wear, new toys for children up to age 12 and drinks for volunteer workers, particularly soda and Gatorade. Once a truck is in place, a drop-off schedule will be set up at Walmart Supercenter, outer Arsenal Street, Mr. Anderson said.

“Don’t send clothing,” said Richard Corbett, chief of the Long Beach Fire Department. “We have been overwhelmed with clothing donations.”

For the extensive cleaning in progress, Mr. Corbett said, surface cleaning fluids, mops, brooms, bleach, dustpans and paper towels — “plenty of paper towels” — are needed.

The truckload will be dispatched to the Long Beach Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the Community Foundation will be handling cash donations for the second portion of our “We Remember” campaign. Our concern is to make sure that the money goes to benefit the people of Nassau County, and will not by shaved by administrative and bureaucratic costs. On Monday, a six-member Nassau County Hurricane Recovery Commission formed, and we will be in consultation with it to determine if its effort would be our best target. We otherwise will continue to explore.

We know that many in the north country have contributed to various efforts to help the Sandy victims. Now is your opportunity to be on the record, telling the people of Nassau County, “We remember.”

Donations, with checks made out to the Northern New York Community Foundation and “Nassau County” written on the memo line, should be mailed to the foundation at 120 Washington St., Suite 400, Watertown, N.Y. 13601.

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