Westport Column: The storm and more

Posted:  Monday, November 6, 2017 - 2:30pm

Hello friends and neighbors,

What a wild week it has been for Westport Island and so many folks in New England. By now I hope your power has been restored and your life is returning to some normalcy. We were thrilled when electricity returned on Friday night, though it will probably take some time to restore our internet service since we get coverage via a tower on Isle of Springs. (I am writing this in the Community Center.) We are fortunate to have a gas- powered generator, so we did not lose our water access or refrigerated food. It certainly made me think of those poor folks in Puerto Rico who still have no power after seven weeks.

Whenever some sort of disaster occurs, there are lessons to be learned. One issue that came to light during discussions on Westport’s Facebook page was whether or not a system currently is in place to check on folks who might be stranded during storms. Many people check on neighbors and friends as a matter of course, and we thank all of you who do so willingly. However, those who live alone or who may need help due to age or disability are of special concern. The nature of this storm stranded people in unusual ways. For instance, some homes on both East and West Shore Roads were only accessible by foot for a number of days, which means water had to be transported to those without generators. Phone service was out, so unless folks shared cell phone numbers, connection was limited to foot access.

Fortunately the Fire Department was available for water, heat, and power. But what if a person can’t get there? What if the storm occurs when temperatures are below freezing? I am sure the Fire Department, Human Resource Committee or Helping Hands members will reach out if they know there is a need. Please take the time to give your contact information to one of these groups. If you have a cell phone, share your number with someone who could help. Let’s all be prudent and help keep each other safe. Winter will be here soon!

Many thanks to the Fire Department, the linemen and tree workers from West Virginia, 14 other states, and Canada, and to everyone for your compassion, patience, and willingness to help your neighbors. We are all in this together!

The Westport Community Association is planning their Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration for Sunday, Dec. 3 from 4-6 p.m. Join your neighbors singing carols under the oil lamps in the historic church, followed by refreshments and revelry at the Old Town Hall. There is still time to join the local choir which practices Sundays from 3:30-4:30 at the Town Office. Just show up! Thanks to the First Bank for their sponsorship of this annual event.

Do you have storm stories to share or lessons that you learned? Contact your newshound pat-dick@midcoast.com or call 231-4049.