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Letter: Storm underscores need for new Y

Published 11:22 am, Friday, November 16, 2012
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It was scary. It was dark and cold. It was downed trees and reversion to primal needs. It was being blocked in on your road by downed powerlines. It was listening to a small National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio running on batteries. It was breakfast at Weston High School. It was sleeping with three blankets. It was checking on friends and neighbors.

We all saw disasters. Some lost everything.

Yet, in the midst of uncertainty and disruption and destruction, there was a place of some normalcy. A place where people gathered and found refuge. Where the search for power, a shower, and a tower to stay in touch with the world was open to all. People sharing overcrowded internet networks trying to keep businesses on track, make plans for recovery, and reduce the effects of Hurricane Sandy for a while. And kids attending programs while adults ate and exercised and tracked events on TV.

It was the community supporting and being supported by the Wilton Family Y. When Sandy hit, the Wilton Y was there for all. Like a pillar where professionals, students, families, young and old, academic and athletic gravitated. While there were other facilities, the Y stepped up and proved so remarkably indispensible to the community in a time of critical need.

As I thank the Wilton Y for easing a tough time, I think about how I could have been at -- and thanking -- the Westport Weston Family Y, where I am a member. And how the Westport-Weston Y would have certainly provided similar vital services, resources, and support during this recent emergency -- if it could.

Instead, the old subterranean Y took on water, drowned, and closed -- looking to repair and dry itself, unable to rescue and benefit and offer assistance to the community as it has done so often in the past.

I thought of the delays (and legal costs) incurred in constructing the new, hardened facility. And how the hurricane, unfortunately, underscored the need and timeliness for the new facility. The new Westport Weston Family Y will not be a panacea for the destruction that many suffered. But the new Y would certainly provide a special place to go during both good times and crisis. And add so vitally to our community.

Marc Sandy Block

Weston