December 1, 2014
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – As Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York and New Jersey, a small group of union operating engineers remained on Ellis Island to ensure this great American landmark continued to function. In spite of great danger and threat of death – volunteers of Local 30 International Union of Operating Engineers, were determined not to lose a great American treasure to the most dangerous storm in the city's history.
A contingent from Local 30 volunteered to stay behind on Ellis Island when this lethal storm descended on the New York metropolitan area two years ago. Few know of the courageous stand against the sea this small band of heros took that day. They were determined to preserve and protect this national landmark. And fewer still know of their extraordinary work in restoring power, pumps and life to this living icon of American democracy after Sandy departed.
The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations on November 26th delivered a Thanksgiving proclamation to local 30 in honor of the men and women who helped save and restore Ellis Island during Superstorm Sandy.
Presenting the proclamation of thanks on the eve of the national holiday of Thanksgiving November 26th, NECO Chairman Nasser J. Kazeminy stated, "Were it not for the prompt and efficient response by Local 30 members to the flooding that overwhelmed the infrastructure on Ellis Island, the very stability of the Great Hall itself would have been placed in jeopardy. In a race against time and the elements, the operating engineers deployed every resource to restore the island and prevent additional damage."
In accepting the award, Local 30's Business Manager William Lynn stated, "When members of our Local made the decision to confront the storm by staying on Ellis Island, they did so because they had been entrusted with a space that has directly touched the lives of millions of American families."