Last week I received a detailed email from Steve Johnson, Vice-Chair of the Milford Conservation Commission. A post-Hurricane Sandy debris cleanup effort focusing on Ft. Trumbull, Silver Beach and Silver Sands Marsh was scheduled for the final day of Thanksgiving weekend. Volunteers were needed for Sunday starting at 9 a.m. I've enjoyed 2 of those 3 areas for many years. So as I opened photo after photo of the debris to be addressed, I was saddened and shocked.
Today I had the privilege of working side-by-side with the dozens of volunteers who demonstrated, once again, that when things are at their worst, people are at their best. The clean-up was well organized and orchestrated. Volunteers of all ages arrived, were greeted, offered free food generously donated by Bistro Basque, and hot chocolate or tea. Steve carefully prepped volunteers on cautions, what to expect - and what to extract. Large black contractor bags, donated by CostCo, and 5 gallon buckets where distributed.
Volunteers, including Mayor Ben Blake, fanned out, picking their way methodically across the debris-laden oceanfront. Items as small as bits of broken glass or bricks, and as large as a full size TV and flat wooden structures, were raked, picked, tugged, and pulled from the beach flats and mounds of sand. People worked solo. People worked as a team. Children, adults, men, women worked in subdued reverance as pieces of people's Hurricane-Sandy devastated structures were cleared away. The only moment of broken silence was when that iconic TV was urged from it's sandy grave by a determined group of women and children.
An amazing amount of debris disappeared today from those 3 areas. Hopefully, when visitors return to these picturesque areas next year, they will be able to enjoy them with the devastation and dangerous debris that once laced these areas just a sad memory.
If you want to contact Steve to see if there's any other help needed, I don't think he'll mind that I gave out his information, here it is: Steve Johnson, Vice-Chair, Milford Conservation Commission, cell: 203-804-3604, em firstname.lastname@example.org.