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Middleburgh firefighters help with Sandy relief

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Albany/HV: Middleburgh firefighters help with Sandy relief
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No one understands how vital volunteer help is in a time of crisis better than Schoharie County first responders. That's why Middleburgh firefighters are returning the favor, heading downstate to help victims of Sandy. Our Maria Valvanis explains.

MIDDLEBURGH, N.Y. -- Firefighter Brandon Morrell said, "It brought every emotion, every feeling back from Irene."

Just 14 months after dealing with a disaster of their own, four Middleburgh firefighters deployed to Long Beach, Long Island, late Tuesday night to help with the devastation left behind by Sandy.

"Once the sun came up and people started slowly coming out of their homes, you could see they were confused, not knowing exactly what to do, where to start," said Assistant Chief John Shaw.

The volunteers took over regular service calls so that local departments could focus on disaster relief.

Shaw said, "Once you got there, you just stepped up. Within the first three hours we had three calls."

Now back home, they say some of the biggest challenges were dealing with the power outages and the sand that was everywhere.

"I was expecting mud, and there was a lot of sand. I've never been to the beach, but I guess I can say I have now, but in the middle of the island, it was definitely shocking to see all that. Stuff where it shouldn't be, homes destroyed, cars destroyed," said Morrell.

And these guys know better than anyone the amount of work that lies ahead, that's why they're already planning a second deployment.

Shaw said, "It's a long road, so whether they need help now or six months from now, that's how we look at it."

Morrell said, "We went through it, just to give back 100 percent what we could do, it felt amazing."

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