Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm isn’t letting Hurricane Sandy slow him down.
“It’s a little crazy, I’ve been driving from one side of the island to another,” he told us over the telephone earlier tonight. “A 93 year-old woman who has breathing issues, she can’t lie flat in the shelter and they don’t have beds that incline. So they have them in the other shelter at the south part of the island, at Tottenville High School. And every which way I’ve been going, the streets have been down because of flooding or because of trees down. I’m driving, I’m just about there so I can bring back this cot.”
Mr. Grimm, a veteran and former F.B.I. agent, said he directed his staff to run their shop like a “military operation” between the various evacuation centers, but he was the only person in his office still out in the dangerous winds tonight.
“My staff, we set up a command post,” he said. “Each staff member had a specific shelter they checked in with. We’ve been running pretty much like a military operation. Everyone has their assignments, everyone filters down to my district director and then to me.”
The congressman also heaped praise on the volunteers toiling away at the shelters and explained how he and another local lawmaker managed to get emergency ziti to the hungry inhabitants of a Mid-Island facility.
“Most of the staff at the shelters are volunteers, and they’ve been incredible,” he extolled. “Just the little things, at the Petrides School they were about to cook pasta for everyone and the power went out. So myself and Assemblyman Michael Cusick called one of the diners I know, and they cooked up pasta for everybody. The power ended up coming back on later on, but at least everyone got fed.”