Thursday, April 02, 2009

OPERATION HOMEFRONT: CRISIS IN KINGSTON


Operation Homefront provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind and to wounded warriors when they return home.

A nonprofit 501(c)(3), Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers in 30 chapters nationwide and has provided critical assistance to more than 45,000 military families in need.

Shortly before Channel 23 went off the air last fall, I helped Nick Woerner, Craig Artist and the regional director of Operation Homefront Tracy Hanschuck in their request to get-the-word-out. We produced a successful show that raised awareness and increased the participation from the viewing area. I was impressed. [Jeremy snuck in this picture]

Those most likely to volunteer services to help military families, or returning wounded are people who are somehow connected to the military themselves, either they themself have served or have family members serving. Regardless of the circumstance, you'll get a sense of family.

This is a picture of a volunteer installing a wheelchair ramp for a Sargent who was wounded in Iraq in Feb 2008. The soldier remains in a wheelchair after multiple sergeries and needed access to his home. When the assistance was announced through their network, people were fighting for the chance to help.

We have a similar situation here in Kingston. I thought it was well worth letting people know that help is needed locally.

With her permission: Rose Wilson is suffering a plumbing disaster. She and her husband reside at 52 Linderman avenue raising their three kids and his two.
Robert is deployed in Iraq and cannot navigate the crisis that has hit the family here at home.

The sewer line that connects across the street has collapsed under the road and the estimates from those with a licence to operate in the City have come in around $7K, thousands more than what mom can afford. With children ranging from 4 to 17, Rose reached out to Operation Homefront Regional Director Tracy Hanschuck.

Through their network, several contacts have offered to help immediately, including an eight man volunteer team from Staten Island that was willing to drive up the next day and dig with shovels. However, here in Kingston, you need a licensed plumber to oversee the task.

Tracy has contacted all the available plumbers and we wait by the phone to see who can step up and help the family of a soldier serving in harms way.

Meanwhile, Tracy and the three kids who live with her full time, pester the neighbors for showers, toilet use and laundry. Sending them off to the YMCA for use of the facilities when they wear out these neighbors is getting a bit tired.

So what if anything, can the DPW do in a case like this? The better question may be, what other organizations are out there that could help. An excavator is needed as well as cooperation with the water department and our own plumbing inspector will have to be engaged. Do we ignore this crisis when the bread winner is off serving our country?

Mayor Sottile drives past this address every day and has only now been approached on this issue. I expect some quick action now that we know the city is the only hurtle to getting the job done.
Now who will offer their backhoe?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nickie Woerner can't get a backhoe from Steve Aaron? He has that huge project going out by Chambers. Nick, persuade your cousin to do this. Aaron rides by it everyday too. Based on Woerner's willingness to promote this group, I am sure he is willing to forgo the equivalent campaign contribution from Aaron to help this family.

I challenge Steve Aaron to do this discreetly, maintaining dignity for the homeowner, without fanfare or press releases. People in our community need help. It isn't always about increasing your assets or supporting those who pay your bills (New Years Eve Seniors party).

Anonymous said...

Mike: get her permission to explore this with Terry Breitenstein, Cong. Hinchey and newsoutlets- In this day and age, there is no reason why one of our veterans has to suffer this type of hardship while away fighting for Freedom. Especially when I talk about our troops at Bataan being abandoned, let us not forget our freedom fighters battling terrorism. Remember the addage:
"Freedom is No Free"

Take care and lets hope that we can get KPA back on the air to expose these type of problems occurring in our own back yard.

any comments on the Bataan Memorializing Resolution- sent in this morning to all Alderman, Mayor and the President of the Common Council
Shelly Z

Anonymous said...

Mike, how could Jeremy "sneak" into anything? He's a pretty big boy to be sneaking in. :)

Mike Madsen said...

1) Someone couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick on Woerner. I had to laugh.

2) Someone had to pick on Jeremy's size. Way too easy.

3) As a result of this post, allot of action has taken place. The Mayor has contacted Tracey, and I believe Jim Noble is somehow involved with the repair. I cant confirm, but I am sure with some continued interest, you'll find laborers ready to pitch in.

This is what community is all about.

Anonymous said...

Can I say, I am truly impressed? The willingness of everyone to step up when something like this comes up, and the swiftness of action because of a Blog. As a veteran, I have to say thanks to all of you involved.

Anonymous said...

As an Army spouse and someone who has served in the military it warms my heart to see people coming together to help this family. Thanks for bringing this to people's attention to get more support. And thanks to Opperation Homefront for all they do. It's a great organization made greater by community support.

Anonymous said...

You realise this is going to kill you in the Democratic Primary. Helping a family outside of the ward. You'll have 3 more primary candidates before the weekend is over.

UCP said...

I support Mike Madsen for Ninth Ward Alderman!