CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — Snow might be the last thing on your mind on hot days like we saw on Thursday, June 1. But for people in Western New York, the cleanup is far from over, after the 2022 Christmas weekend blizzard that happened nearly six months ago.
“A lot of times people are like we live in, you know, New York, so we’re used to the snow. But Buffalo got really dumped on, not once but twice,” said Laurel Flanagan, CEO of Operation Northern Comfort.
But neighbors in Buffalo will soon be getting some help from volunteers right here in Central New York.
A group of volunteers from Operation Northern Comfort will be heading to Buffalo on June 18. They’ll spend a little less than a week there, helping a local church that was damaged by the blizzard get back to normal.
“They need to have their floors, ceilings, and some wall spaces redone, so that it can be a safe place to come into. Not only as a church, but they are all using it as a voting station,” said Mike Block, volunteer at Operation Northern Comfort.
Marking this the third trip of the year for volunteers at Operation Northern Comfort. Since the beginning of 2023, they’ve already traveled to Fort Myers, Florida twice to help with cleanup efforts from Hurricane Ian. Despite this being a blizzard, Flanagan says the work will be similar to Ian.
“We’re dealing with mold situations, we’re dealing with spongy floors and ruin sheetrock that will have to be taken out and replaced,” said Flanagan.
A lot of sweat, hard work, and dedication… but so worth it.
“You can see the look on their face and the expression of gratitude they have, it’s a feeling that doesn’t go away. It’s that volunteer aura, that you can’t wait until the next trip,” said Block.
As of right now, seven volunteers will be heading to Buffalo. But Operation Comfort is hoping more people sign up before the June 9th deadline.
“It’s not highly skilled work that we do but is something that people can learn to do and it’s so gratifying to be able to help move people forward, put them back to where they were before the storm,” said Flanagan.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the June 18 Buffalo trip, click here.