Sandy Sunday Beach Clean Up: Recovery Piece by Piece

Read about the Sandy Sunday beach and marsh debris clean-up and volunteers' experience

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 skjohnson076@gmail.com.


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Michael Brown November 26, 2012 at 02:50 AM
I wish I was in town for this. Good to see good citizens.
Steve Johnson November 26, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Sunday's shoreline clean-up at the Silver Sands Marsh on Mayflower Pl, at Silver Beach, Ft. Trumbull and at Silver Sands State Park was an inspiring day of community stewardship spirit. Boy and Girl Scouts joined us from Milford and Woodbridge, as well as volunteers from Bridgeport and as far away as Darien. The efforts of Milford Youth Lacrosse over at Walnut Beach also deserve thanks for their clean-up and boardwalk sand removal efforts. I am in awe of how much these volunteers of all ages accomplished. I am so proud of everyone who helped make yesterday a success for Milford. Thank you for helping to make our shoreline safer and making a difference.
Jeff from Milford November 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
As a homeowner in the Silver Sands community, I am deeply grateful and amazed by the volunteer efforts of so many. Scouts, youth groups, local businesses, organizations and just everyday citizens. I have noticed The L.D.S.organization there has been working hard for almost four weeks.
maureen choate November 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I volunteered to help the community a few weeks ago, and the people that helped were amazing. Everyone worked together to help clean up backyards, etc. It felt so good to help my neighbors. I decided to come back the next week with food. Being a chef I wanted make a hot lunch for the folks and volunteers helping out. I meet a man lived in Silver Sands, and he said "he never saw anything like Sandy" he was living in a hotel with his dog.I spoke to another resident, and he told me he had his boat anchored to a cement post, even that couldn't handle Sandy. He was so grateful to have a hot lunch for him and his wife. I went back to a woman I met in Silver Sands the week before, and I brought her a hot lunch. She is trying to get her home repaired and take care of her husband who is ill. When I gave her a hot meal she said "I made her day". It's the little things we can do to make the difference. Milford has made a difference, and I'm proud to live here.
Priscilla Lynn November 28, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Jeff: thank you for taking a moment to share.
Priscilla Lynn November 28, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Michael, I think Steve's organization could still use more help, why don't you contact him?
Priscilla Lynn November 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Steve: Thanks for taking time to post your comments and provide additional information on others who helped. I know when I walk and sit on the beaches of Milford next year, being there will take on a whole new meaning for me with memories of the beautiful volunteers and their clean up efforts.
Priscilla Lynn November 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Maureen: You are yet another example of one of the unsung heroes of our greater Milford community. It was so special of your to share your thoughts, comments, and experience. I hope others reading this will share their experiences, too.


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