Thousands of emergency workers responded to the call when the flooding hit in Luzerne County in September, evacuating, rescuing, comforting people across the Wyoming Valley.
Stephen Bekanich, the head of the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, helped coordinate the massive effort.
“It was a very trying time for not only the people that were impacted but also the people that were charged to protect them and it made for a long couple of days for us,” said Bekanich.
The National Guard was called in to help as local fire, ambulance and police departments tried to keep up from pumping out homes, cleaning debris, clearing roads, coping with the chaos on little or no rest.
“The hardest part about it was when the water came up and then went down and seeing the people absolutely devastated and crying, really upset over that happened,” said Dan Kosisky, a Jenkins Township and Pittston firefighter.
“We went probably 72 hours of better where the guys went without any sleep. We were on rotating shifts and weeks, two to three weeks before we got everything cleaned and opened up at least so people could move back and forth,” said Charles Krommes.
Krommes is head of emergency management in Plains Township and a captain with the fire department.
He works now with a group focused on long-term recovery after the flood and said he remembers what it took to keep going a year ago.
“A lot of coffee, a lot of food and naps in between. I’ll be honest, that’s just basically what it was. If you weren’t on duty, you were working the flood. “
“A lot of people suffered, but you know we did our best and we just hope that the people realize that we did what we could for them,” said Bekanich.