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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/16/2018

Amish show concern for neighbors as they help out in Fort Plain

Amish show concern for neighbors as they help out in Fort Plain

*Amish show concern for neighbors as they help out in Fort Plain *Church building gone, but people’s

Amish show concern for neighbors as they help out in Fort Plain

For two days last week I worked as a volunteer in the village of Fort Plain. Throughout both days, I had the opportunity to work with two Amish families. Take a ride through Fort Plain and you would be hard pressed not to spot the dozens of Amish men and women working to help the people of Fort Plain recover from this recent devastating flood.

During a short lunch break, I asked the father why he would bring five of his boys down to work all day, knowing he had so much work on his farm with this being his growing season. His reply was simple, “They are our neighbors.” What a caring and sincere response.

In 2011, I spent several days in Schoharie and Middleburgh after their flood. The resolve of the people in those towns was remarkable. I see it again in all those affected in Fort Plain. Total strangers coming from all over the region helping anyway they can. Companies like National Grid and Frontier, to name a couple, donating food, supplies and employees to assist in the cleanup. Local churches feeding hundreds of displaced families and exhausted volunteers every day.

But stop and ask anyone from the town what has impressed them the most and they are all quick to say: “the Amish.” Dozens of families who have put their own lives on hold to help out. Their work ethic is the best I’ve ever seen and their humble approach to life is refreshing.

I don’t claim to know very much about the Amish or their chosen lifestyle. I never felt it is fair to judge someone without first walking in their shoes. I do know that the qualities of respect, humility and caring for others run deep in the families I had the privilege working with. Wouldn’t it be a better place if we could all live with those standards?

To anyone reading this letter, I encourage you to take that short ride out to Fort Plain. The people will greatly appreciate your efforts. Whether you can still do manual labor or would like to pass out water at a relief station, I assure you it will be a rewarding experience you soon won’t forget.

And to the people of Fort Plain, I’d like to thank you for making me feel so welcomed and I say “stay strong.” Look at your neighbors in Schoharie and Middleburgh. All those who believed in their town have come all the way back. You are not in this alone.

Mick Eckert


Church building gone, but people’s faith lives

I love the cleverness of the Gazette illustrator. His June 30 art of St. Patrick’s Church being dumped into a garbage can is not exactly a sad drama.

The readers should learn the other facts of the loss. Crowds of people of both strong and weak faith were energized to storm heaven to save the church. Prayer is never wasted. Prayer in any form gives strength for coping.

The demolition crews were always friendly and kind. I waited in line to receive a church remembrance brick. St. Patrick’s Church survived a 100 years. Nothing lasts forever, except the fervor of people’s faith.

Rob Curtiss


Some things not worth saving; DSS building is one

Twice in the last week you had opinion pieces [July 5 editorial and July 7 op-ed column] saying that the former DSS [Department of Social Services] building in Schenectady should be saved. But:

1) The building is shot — well beyond salvage.

2) The building is ugly.

The mere process of cleaning it will spend the few million dollars, and when complete will have accomplished nothing of value; it gets you to a starting point.

You are right that the city has made enough blunders with big-box pharmacies that are now vacant. No one has proposed one for this site.

In the past few years Amsterdam dealt with this at the site of the Chalmers Building on the South Side. Finally, it was removed. Trust me, a vacant lot with a nice lawn is far more useful than the hazmat site attracting unauthorized use.

Robert Grimm


Good coverage by Gazette of pictures at an exhibition

I want to thank the Gazette for the extensive June 23 article and especially all the colored photos of Homer’s and Inness’ paintings. Karen Bjornland did a super job reporting on the Clark [museum] exhibit, too.

So often we read only small excerpts of her insight. I loved how she described the “herd of yellow backhoes and bulldozers” humming and roaring.

We got some history, personal color on the artists, and even tips [on] what to expect and look for beyond the paintings.

Betty Pieper


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