11/26/14: Poloncarz Sends Thanksgiving Message

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:27pm

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County Executive Sends Message of Thanks in Wake of Winter Storm Knife

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued the following Thanksgiving Day message:

“Thanksgiving is here, a day to be with family, friends, and loved ones as we count our blessings and are reminded of all that we have to be thankful for. This year, Thanksgiving is especially powerful following the winter storm that pounded Erie County last week, a storm that produced days of difficult circumstances for many residents, including thirteen storm-related fatalities, but that also showed the character, compassion, and can-do attitude that exemplify who we are. And so as we reflect on the recent past this Thanksgiving Day, we pause to remember those who passed and give thanks for those who stepped up when the snow flew.

It was a humbling experience to be at the Emergency Operations Center in Cheektowaga during the storm, surrounded by individuals committed to doing their best to serve the public. As emergency personnel say, “It’s not about us, it’s about those we serve, those we serve with, and those who allow us to serve.” Truer words were never spoken, and they came to life every day in the unselfish actions of the people around me.

My thanks to the many emergency services, law enforcement, and public safety agencies here in Erie County and from around New York State who worked shoulder to shoulder with our Erie County departments in helping our citizens during this weather event. Coordination between departments and across divisions at the local and state level was crucial to storm relief efforts throughout, and these individuals continually answered the call with courage and professionalism under extremely trying conditions. Spending days away from loved ones while they worked to assist our entire community, these men and women showed their true mettle and they deserve all of our thanks.

Sincere and grateful thanks also go to the many public works and contractor employees from all around Western New York who labored to keep roads cleared of the approximately 6 -7 feet of snow that fell in just a day and a half. These road heroes worked long hours on snow-covered roads and their valiant efforts were noted and greatly appreciated by emergency crews and all others who had to be on the roads while the storm raged around us. Along with them, thanks also to the tow truck operators who braved the elements to retrieve the thousands of abandoned vehicles scattered across our roadways. These were all essential parts of our storm response and their hard work is appreciated.

While many elected officials gave of their time and resources to assist during the storm, special thanks go to Governor Cuomo for his support and focus as we dealt with Winter Storm Knife. The Governor was here for the duration of the event, meeting with me, his team, and local emergency managers to lead the state response and bring the resources of New York State to bear as the storm evolved. Without his support, the storm and its aftermath may well have turned out differently. My thanks also go to our local officials at all levels who worked together to handle this adversity. Their spirit of community greatly outweighed the voices of those who chose to criticize relief efforts rather than support them, and they were great teammates throughout.

Without hesitation, my deepest thanks go to the citizens of Erie County. While the storm was underway and as the cleanup began, we heard numerous stories of acts of individual bravery, compassion, and camaraderie that proved once again that we are the “County of Good Neighbors”. Thank you for staying off the roads when it was needed, for checking on neighbors, for digging out fire hydrants, and for the multitude of other caring acts you took on to care for those around us and who needed our help. Erie County has broad shoulders and a caring heart, and while Mother Nature may have thrown the first punch, our community answered the call and took care of each other.

I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all, and am thankful to be a part of such a tremendous community. God bless you today and always.