A few days before Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, devastating homes and businesses in several states, there was a disaster in the tiny Adirondack hamlet of Bakers Mills, just south of North Creek.
The community response to both crises was uplifting, and it left us thankful for living in an Adirondack small town.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 27, Bruce and Amy Cleveland’s house in Bakers Mills was razed by a fire. By some miracle, they had left home an hour earlier to go to the Glens Falls Hospital emergency room. When they arrived back in Bakers Mills, their home was gone. They lost everything.
On Oct. 29 and 30, Hurricane Sandy ripped into the East Coast, with New Jersey, New York City and Long Island taking the brunt of the winds and floodwaters. Many lost everything.
We continue to hear stories of Adirondack residents traveling south to the greater New York City area to help with the recovery, including firefighters, police officers and business owners. A nationwide relief effort was set up to help the people who lost property during Hurricane Sandy. It seems we do this for strangers not just in America but around the world who need our help from natural disasters.
Yet it was Bruce and Amy Cleveland’s personal disaster that reminded us that there are people in our own towns, our own region, who also need help.
And that help came. The Clevelands’ friends, family and neighbors in the town of Johnsburg have set up a recovery fund for them, and they held a benefit on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the J&J Foxx Lair Tavern in Bakers Mills. It was a resounding success. People donated food, items for the raffle and auction, and music. The tavern’s manager, Joelene Slater, co-organized the event with Nancy and Bert Heckett from the Wevertown Country Store.