Above: The last FEMA trailer in the village of Schoharie being towed away from Mary and Jim Bryant's front yard on Thursday, April 4. Photo by Alison Bryant; used by permission of Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery.
The flood-ravaged village of Schoharie reached a big milestone last week, when the last FEMA trailer was hauled out of town for good.
The news was announced recently by Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery (SALT), a regional coalition formed to help the Schoharie Creek Basin recover from the 2011 Irene and Lee floods. Jerrine Corallo writes that Mary and Jim Bryant, the last family in Schoharie still relying on a FEMA trailer, were able to get back into their flood-damaged house in time for Easter.
The Bryant FEMA trailer was the last trailer in the Village of Schoharie to be pulled out. A milestone for a village where FEMA trailers were all too common a site, with over 40 throughout the hard hit region. Schoharie Recovery, Inc. Director Josh DeBartolo is aware of only three that remain in the flood damaged communities along the Schoharie Creek basin.
"There was a serious push over the past few months of volunteers who helped complete three total home rebuilds. The efforts enabled these three families to move out of their FEMA trailers by the April 1 deadline and back into their homes," DeBartolo reports.
The volunteers at SALT stress that there's still a lot of recovery work to do. Not everyone displaced by Irene has been able to return home.
Last month, SALT held a news conference in the gutted Middleburgh home of Bill and Amy Wetsel, at which director Sarah Goodrich announced a $250,000 donation to the recovery effort from an investment firm with deep local roots:
A news conference was held last week in what's left of the Wetsel home, the interior of which was gutted down to the studs in January by a group of volunteers coordinated by Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) Recovery. The nonprofit coalition and coordinating council — which provides interfaith and interagency resources, advocacy, support and direct recovery assistance — received a $250,000 donation from Fenimore Asset Management, which will help families like the Wetsels get back into their homes.
"There's a possibility we may be able to move back home in the fall, but we're not pushing anyone," said Wetsel, who works at New Country Lexus in Latham. "It's amazing the help we continue to receive from this community."
Fenimore Asset Management pledged the matching grant to SALT last fall. The investment advisory firm is run by the Putnam family, whose home in Schoharie was also devastated by floodwaters. Vice president Anne Putnam said her parents were planning to move back over the weekend.
On Tuesday, April 9, SALT will be holding a ceremony to thank dozens of volunteers for their contributions to the local recovery effort. The ceremony will be held at 5pm at the Depot Lane Theatre in Schoharie.