Proud of the community, staff in wake of storm
At midnight last Wednesday, just a few hours after ravaging winds made playthings out of stout trees and shoelaces out of power lines in northern Hobart, our acting fire chief, 19 firefighters and I regrouped at Fire Station No. 1 to assess damages and plan next steps.
On-duty Hobart-Lawrence Police Department (HLPD) officers were barricading impassable and dangerous thoroughfares and responding to 911 calls.
Firefighters had also been responding to 911 calls, checking for structural damage and ruptured gas lines in houses, locating downed power lines and identifying impassable roads, as well as routes for potential medical evacuations.
Standing in that group and realizing what had just happened and what was yet to be done, I realized that the last time I saw such selflessness and esprit de corps was when I was on active duty in the military.
Talk about everyone pulling in the same direction.
Not only has your village government risen to the challenge, but our citizenry has also.
The self-reliance of hundreds of Hobart’s residents was apparent on Thursday, and for days later.
Neighbors helping neighbors.
Equipment and expertise were shared all the way around.
Residents didn’t wait for “government to do something.”
Public Works personnel have continued to monitor our municipal water supply, sanitary sewer systems and the back-up power supplies for lift stations, pumps and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems.
One public works employee incurred vehicle damage enroute to an emergency at a lift station.
Other stories abound.
The only problem over which we had no control was the power lost to 43% of the village.
However, for the eventual restoration of power, we have Wisconsin Public Service to be grateful to for their days-long efforts at stringing new lines and cobbling workarounds to bring electricity back to our homes and businesses.
They had a much larger service territory to cover than just Hobart.
Finally, but not least of all, were the volunteered resources provided by our neighboring communities of Lawrence, Wrightstown, Bellevue, Pulaski and De Pere.
We will still need their help in the weeks ahead.
We lifted the state of emergency on Monday morning.
We are hopeful for state and federal financial assistance in the coming weeks.
Financially, your village is in a strong position, and we will do what needs to be done.
We will need your continued cooperation in the weeks ahead with our debris clean-up efforts.
We ask for your patience and cooperation in our clean-up effort and regard for all necessary changes in traffic routing.
HLPD officers will be monitoring any problems and they, along with the Hobart Fire Department, will continue to respond to 911 dispatches as necessary and enforce whatever measures are deemed necessary.
I’ve never been prouder or more humbled to serve this community as I have been this last week.
On behalf of the Village Board and staff, please accept our thanks and our pledge to continue doing our best.
– Rich Heidel, Hobart Village President