Governor Andrew Cuomo (D – NY) visited the North Country on Tuesday for a major unveiling in an Irene-damaged community.
“This historical event will long be remembered as one of the greatest moments in the town of Jay's history,” said Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas.
It was a day of celebration and reflection for the town of Jay, NY, almost 3 years to the day since Tropical Storm Irene wreaked her havoc.
“I will never forget the day as it rained and it rained, like none of us had ever witnessed before,” remembers Douglas. And with that rain came the flood.
Upper Jay Fire Chief Jeff Straight saw parts of his 50-year old station disintegrate.
But he and other town leaders say Governor Cuomo and the state of New York quickly kicked into action.
“Sometimes out of the blue, many of us get one of those restricted phone calls that say 'it's the Governor!' Just to say 'How's it goin? Do you have everything you need?' He amazes me,” said Douglas.
“It was your determination, your grit, it was your passion, it was your leadership that made this a reality,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D – NY).
The town of Upper Jay built this brand new fire station with $1.5 million dollars from the state and hundreds of thousands more from insurance claims, FEMA and district taxpayers. The cost of the project topped $2.7 million.
Fire Chief Jeff Straight says the volunteer firefighters moved into the new facility full-time about a month ago.
Improvements include an apparatus garage and training center, heat-integrated floors, automatic doors, a kitchen that has tripled in size and a gear washer that will extract carbon from materials.
The Chief says he can’t decide which improvement is his favorite.
“If you ever seen the old building, I'd have to say everything and I don't mean to be facetious in saying that,” said Chief Straight.
Gov. Cuomo told the crowd that what happened during Irene is part of a "new normal in weather patterns.”
And he's pushing for more schooling in emergency management so that next time it happens, New York will be prepared.