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Lansdale Staff Honored for Hurricane Response

Lansdale Borough Manager Timi Kirchner and Council President Matt West recognized borough employees for their aid and support during Hurricane Sandy's melee

When Hurricane Sandy hit in Lansdale, the definition of "teamwork" went into effect.

On Wednesday night, Lansdale Borough staff were honored and recognized for their brave help during the hurricane.

"What time to honor local goverment than when it is the most responsive," said Lansdale Borough Manager Timi Kirchner Wednesday night at the award ceremony. "We are seeing Lansdale's finest here."

Kirchner said staff was in the command center at Fairmount Fire Co., at Lansdale Borough Hall and at Lansdale Police Department to make sure everyone was safe, that the lights stayed on and that the roads were passable throughout the night.

"I got to hear all the calls that came in and work with (Fire Marshal) Jay Daveler.

"Our folks were out there. Often, our first responders would be calling in saying, 'Trees down.' These are the folks that go out to help us when others are hunkering down with their own families," Kirchner said.

Kirchner recalled how that, throughout the night, she would hear staff like highway manager Rick DeLong, Donna Markley from the electric department, and Joanne Grubb from parks and recreation say "10-4. Got it."

"Our folks were out and all over the borough," she said.

As a true testimony to the danger during the hurricane, Kirchner said one of the calls received that evening was for a tree that fell onto the middle of the block on Woodland Drive.

"About 10 minutes later, (Sgt.) Dean (Miller) comes in and says, 'The chief's vehicle is down in the far bay.' There is the whole back of (Chief Robert McDyre's) vehicle, busted in and the windows out," Kirchner said. "It was scary."

She said the damage of the storm did not stp any of the borough staff or volunteers from continue to go out and take care of issues.

"It's the truest testimony of the courage and dedication to all involved in this," she said.

West said everyone in the borough worked hard to keep everyone safe.

"We appreciate it. This is for you," he said.

Daveler was the first person to be honored Wednesday.

"Jay is a treasure to this town," Kirchner said. "

Next, Department of Community Development Director John Ernst was honored for making sure the codes department was working efficiently.

"When a call came in for a tree down, it was the codes that was out there determining whether or not a building was safe and determining whether people have to evacuate," Kirchner said.

DeLong accepted honors on behalf of the public works department.

Electric Department foreman George Schlesman accepted on behalf of the electric department.

"My lights flickered twice. Thank you," said West.

"They were out there, all night, making sure the lights stayed on in Lansdale Borough," said Kirchner of the electric department.

Kirchner called the men and women of Fairmount Fire Co. "amazing." Chief Joe Stockert thanked all of his crew for their efforts.

"I'd like to say I spent the night with them," she said. "The fire department filled in to help for the moments when staff can't be there."

McDyre accepted honors on behalf of the police department. He thanked council for purchasing a new backhoe, which he called "the greatest thing" during the storm. He also praised the department's manpower.

"We have a great pool of resources," McDyre said.

Wastewater treatment plant director Dan Shinskie accepted on behalf of his department.

"We were grateful that night that we didn't have a lot of incidents at the wastewater treatment plant," Kirchner said. "You were there and the staff was there to fill in all the places we needed."

Carl Saldutti accepted honors for the parks and recreation department.

"Jay (Daveler) said, 'We need Carl. He knows the borough inside and out, every inch of it.' The department also had a lot of cleanup work afterwards. We are very grateful," Kirchner said.

Jordana Fitzgerald, the new borough hall receptionist, accepted honors on behalf of the administration and finance department.

"Did she get a trial by fire!" Kirchner said of Fitzgerald. "She was on board a week or two, and we said 'We need you.' We needed someone who was able to answer the phone for all who were afraid of the storm approaching. They were there to give residents of the borough a real live voice to talk to."

Finally, Kirchner thanked borough council for its efforts before and after the storm.

"Thank you to all of council for giving us the personnel and tools we needed to be responsive during the storm," Kirchner said. "I am so deeply proud to be working with you."

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