By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — Ok ... here are some thoughts I collected as I sat around the pool of a Los Angeles hotel this week, trying, and I do mean trying to get back to Western New York.
(Hey reporters like to be where the action is.)
Watching Hurricane Sandy slam into the Delaware, Maryland and especially the Jersey shore and lower Manhattan was scary stuff.
I've covered some severe weather events in my career, including one hurricane in Florida, and what you saw reporters from CNN, the Weather Channel and other news networks experiencing was the real deal. The wind was wicked, blowing debris and falling trees caused many deaths, and finally, the storm surge, the relentlessly rising water was the biggest blow.
Oh, and don't forget the fires sparked by electrical shorts in the water and broken natural gas connections.
I've never been the victim of a flood or a fire. I've never come home to find by home a smoldering pile of ashes or seen all my life's possession water logged or floating away. I can't even imagine what that is like. Watching it all unfold from more han 3,000 miles away I felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach.
Thankfully, those of us who call Western New York home escaped Sandy's punch in the gut. Heck, we even dodged the 3 to 5 feet of snow that pounded West Virginia (though we do have some experience at least with that aspect of Mother Nature).
I know the folks in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Manhattan will survive this. In particular, I expect my friends in Jersey and the "City" to rebound and rebuild to something even better than what they lost.
But they can't do all by themselves.
Look, I know there's a lot of richer folks in the storm-ravaged areas than what we have here. But the majority of the residents where Sandy struck are hard working, middle class people who need our help.
One of the greatest gifts of being from and living in Western New York is knowing that folks here never say no when it coms to lending a helping hand. I encourage all of you to reach out to the Red Cross and do whatever you can to help with hurricane relief.
I know I already have.
A happy ending
One of the first stories I heard about Hurricane Sandy in the Falls, was the frantic search for an 83-year-old man who went missing from his home just as the rain and winds were picking up here.
My sources tell me Falls police patrol officers, with all the other challenges they faced that night, were relentless in trying to locate the man. As it turns out, he ended up not far from home, sleeping on the couch of a neighbor across the street.
Still for his family, those had to be terrifying hours. I'm sure the efforts of Cataract City cops, in the middle of a storm, were deeply appreciated.Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer at 282-2311, 2252