About thirty students from the College of Saint Rose skipped traditional college-age St. Patrick’s Day hijinks and drinking on Saturday and gave their time to flood cleanup efforts in the village of Schoharie.
“We were trying to think of an alternative for the students,” said senior Leah Chamberlin, one of the trip’s organizers.
The alternative was a wooded area of Main Street, cluttered with debris carried down by flood waters. The morning and early afternoon were spent hauling pieces of wood, some as long as 10 or 12 feet, out to the street, where they were trucked away.
close to home
Krystal Bartels, a 19-year-old freshman, was really encouraged by the group’s effort, because she is from Middleburgh. “This hits close to home,” she said.
Her house was spared significant damage — only the basement flooded — but she was really taken aback by what happened to her community. The damage of the first storm was conveyed to her by her mother, because Tropical Storm Irene hit during the first week of fall classes.
“This is my second time out here with the college. It’s just good to know that these girls aren’t here talking about partying. They’re out here working,” Bartels said. “These girls didn’t know Middleburgh or Schoharie existed, but now they’re giving up eight hours on their Saturday, when they could be pre-gaming for St. Patrick’s Day.”
This is the college’s third trip to Schoharie County, said Chelsea Evanyke, a senior and trip organizer. They have also been to Prattsville and Middleburgh.
Evanyke said the college has developed a really good rapport with the community, which has encouraged them to return to the area. Bartels added that on her first trip, a homeowner came out and brought them food.
As to whether she would be engaging in some fun events after her day of volunteering, Bartels said without hesitation, “No, I’m sleeping. It’s been a long day.”
Sarah Goodrich, the coordinator of Schoharie Recovery volunteer efforts, said the warm weather has encouraged more groups, like Saturday’s volunteers, to come out and help. In February there were fewer volunteers, with most of them doing specialized work inside houses.
Goodrich said the county is looking forward to volunteers coming near and far from colleges, churches and various service organizations.
“Next month we have groups coming for a week at a time and they’re coming from as far away as Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey,” she said.
There is still lots to be done, including debris pickup and yard cleanup. The Schoharie recovery movement can use money, building supplies and yard-work supplies. Contact www.schoharierecovery.org.