Warwick opens its hearts and pocketbooks to those affected by Hurricane Katrina

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:55

WARWICK-It started as one man's search for his sister in the devastation of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. It ended with communities in Orange County opening up their hearts and wallets for complete strangers in need. Phil Glover of Wawayanda could not contact his 74-year-old sister in Louisiana. So, he bought a small trailer, loaded it up with supplies and headed to Louisiana to find her, according to a letter from his friend, Carol A. Moore, to Vince Poloniak, a county employee and the town's liaison for senior citizens. He found his sister safe and sound, but Glover, a volunteer with the New Hampton Fire Department, stayed on to help with the relief effort. Glover let Moore know that so much was needed, especially for the senior citizens in the area of Franklinton, about 90 miles north of New Orleans. Poloniak and Moore contacted the municipalities in Orange County, as well as many organizations, to donate goods for the relief effort, and especially for the seniors who were in need of expensive items. Barbara Devine, secretary for Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, got Moore's letter early last week. Devine knew this was something that the employees of the town would rally around. She sent out a list of needed items to all employees, the three villages, the local papers and drugstores and the Warwick Ambulance Corp. The town offered its Town Hall on Kings Highway to be used as a drop off point. But there were only four days for these items to be collected. A 53-foot tractor-trailer would be leaving New Hampton by the weekend heading to Franklinton. "It was just incredible how the community helped out with this," said Devine. Two full pick-up trucks filled with crutches went up to New Hampton, as did another load of walkers and canes. There were diapers and formula for the babies, Depends and Ensure for the seniors. Toilet tissue, powdered bleach, Pine Sol, peroxide, insect spray, air mattresses, Tylenol, mops, Band-Aids and canned goods were among the donations that filled a dump truck just from Warwick. "I called Akins Pharmacy and they were just phenomenal," said Devine. "They donated so many diapers and formula. And the Warwick Ambulance Corp donated all those crutches." Joe Lawlor from the Ambulance Corp got special mention from Devine, as did Department of Public Works employee John Shipps. Both men went above and beyond in this effort, she said. Also, the Pine Island Seniors donated a great deal. Devine made sure to have stickers made and put on the supplies, giving an encouraging message to the recipients and letting them know that the supplies came from Warwick, N.Y. "It is much more personal when you know where the donations came from," said Devine. Collecting that amount of donations in just four days was a pretty amazing feat. "The Town of Warwick can be very proud of how everyone came together on such short notice to donate much needed supplies to the victims of Hurricane Katrina," said Warwick Town Clerk Karen Lavinski. "On behalf of the Town Board and the staff of the Warwick Town Hall, we thank you so very much for your generosity."