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West Pawlet aids sister hit by Sandy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

West Pawlet aids sister hit by Sandy

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WEST PAWLET, Vt. -

At the fire department in West Pawlet, volunteer fire fighters are working to collect donations to help the small village of Meadowmere Park, an island community located in Queens, New York.

"They had four or five feet of water come through the entire neighborhood, which is 80 houses or so. And it took out the first floor of basement of every single house in the neighborhood," said West Pawlet Fire Dept. Lt. Tom Best.

Locals are writing checks and donating items that experience has taught them the residents of Meadowmere Park will need.

"Work gloves -- because I know from Irene that work gloves were what we really needed. And then cash, so they can spend it locally and support their local economy, too," said local resident Rhonda Schlangen.
     
Once there are enough donations to fill up a trailer loaned from the town of Rupert, some of the team will drive it down to Meadowmere Park.  But, this isn't the first time the two departments have met.

Several years ago Meadowmere Park's Fire Department bought a restored 1950s-era fire truck that once belonged to West Pawlet, one of the department's first engines after it was established in 1947.  Meadowmere uses the truck in their parades.

"After Meadowmere Fire Department acquired the truck, some of their members came up here looking for original equipment off it -- that's how we originally met them," said West Pawlet Fire Chief David Hosley.

Since then, the Chief and other members have visited Meadowmere Park, where neighbors opened up their homes and spare rooms -- in turn, now members of the West Pawlet Fire Department are opening up their hearts.

"By now FEMA should be in there with food and water and their basic supplies. We're trying to help with their next step," Lt. Tom Best said.

The truck that began this friendship is now sitting under six feet of water, but Chief Hosley said that won't stop the friendship from driving on. "They've got a lot more things to worry about than fixing the fire truck," he said.

Soon this little fire department will be helping another small town in a big way.

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