MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon City Council honored residents who assisted others during Hurricane Sandy along with other civic leaders at its meeting Wednesday night.
Honorees included workers of the Mount Vernon Department of Public Works and a group of women called “Sisters of the Heart.” Both groups put aside their own problems during the storm to help others in worse shape.
“Through it all, people came together and put their issues aside,” Councilwoman Karen Watts-Yehuda said. “They’d rather do something positive than complain. Without community, we have nothing. It’s always about the people.”
The Mount Vernon DPW was essential in helping distressed residents during Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor’easter, Councilman Richard Thomas said.
“The bottom line is the lights would not be on without them,” Thomas said. “They worked so many hours, picking trees off people’s homes, and they did it without complaint and even without a contract.”
When it came time to help during the storms, the workers did not hesitate, DPW Commissioner Curtis Woods said. They were out during Hurricane Sandy until the winds got too strong, Woods said.
“I am grateful to the men who really showed what they could do when the city needed them the most,” he said.
Also honored was community leader Joan Horton, who serves as vice president of Neighbors That Care and in various capacities with other civic organizations, as well as philanthropist Robert DeBenedictus.
“We make this world a better place because we can,” Horton said. “I fell in love with the city of Mount Vernon from the moment I moved here, and it continues today.”
Reformed gang member Ali Tommy Guest, who became a hip-hop artist on Warner Brothers records, was also honored. Guest is working with a program to stop the violence that has taken the lives of some of Mount Vernon’s youth, Councilman Deborah Reynolds said.
“What I’m doing is from the heart,” Guest said. “When you live down there and see that as you get older it’s better to do good things, I try to inspire people to make better decisions and be God-conscious.”
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