, Derry, New Hampshire

November 15, 2012

Editorial: Lending a hand to our storm-ravaged neighbors

Derry News

---- — Cheers to local people and those across the Granite State who are stepping up to help those still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Among those are Bill Burke, owner of Dollar Bill’s Discount World in Derry, who drove to storm-ravaged New Jersey last weekend to deliver a truck full of supplies.

Burke, a native of New York, has friends and business connections in the New York-New Jersey area.

“I truck to New Jersey once a month, twice a month, I know how to get down there,” he said prior to his trip. “I said to a friend of mine, ‘Let’s get some stuff going on.’”

The flamboyant auctioneer and retailer collected a phenomenal quantity of emergency supplies in a short time.

“We collected 6,445 pounds of food and clothing,” Burke told reporter Julie Huss. “It was amazing.”

Burke told our reporter the devastation he saw in New Jersey was beyond belief.

“We got down there, people were overwhelmed,” he said earlier this week. “It’s fairly devastating. You see a lot of mobile homes; power trucks are everywhere.”

Burke said the damage just doesn’t compare with anything he’s experienced in New Hampshire.

“The ice storm of 2009, I had to chainsaw my way out of my neighborhood,” he said. “That would be nothing to what we see there.”

Students at the West Running Brook and Gilbert H. Hood middle schools are also doing their part to help. The students put out a call to parents and families last week and in a very short time received enough items to fill a truck. Hood assistant principal Susan Gualtieri said that the quick response to the plea for help was amazing.

“It hadn’t even been 24 hours,” she said.

Gov. John Lynch ordered a 12-member State Police team to New Jersey to help with recovery efforts.

“Hurricane Sandy had a devastating impact on parts of New Jersey, and the recovery efforts there are ongoing,” Lynch said last week. “New Hampshire is pleased to be able to answer the request for assistance.”

Granite State utility crews are also helping New Jersey utilities restore power to the thousands still in the dark. Public Service of New Hampshire sent a convoy of 15 line crews, along with support staff and supervisors. The crews will be helping Jersey Power and Light restore power to the estimated 150,000 customers who were still without it as of late last week.

The PSNH crews joined crews from NSTAR, Western Mass Electric Company and Connecticut Light and Power. Utility mutual aid efforts have restored power to more than 1.5 million customers in impacted areas.

The united effort to help our neighbors hard hit by the superstorm is both welcome and encouraging. It’s comforting to know that Americans will lend a helping hand to those in need.

Burke said he may make another trip to New Jersey to offer additional help.

“We help so many people around the world with so much other stuff, this is our back yard,” he said. “We can make a difference. We can be a part of the help when they can’t.”

Well done to all involved.