On the day of her induction to a sixth term, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray led a group of 5 newly elected officials and a compelling tribute to the heroes and the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The ceremony detailed Hempstead Town’s resilience and strength in the wake of the Superstorm. Murray, the first elected female supervisor of America’s largest township, was sworn in during a moving ceremony at Hempstead Town Hall on January 2, 2014.
The event featured a musical performance by American Idol finalist and Merrick resident Robbie Rosen, a special video presentation, appearances by heroes of Superstorm Sandy and the unveiling of a state-of-the-art recreation facility for children with special needs. Along with Murray, Senior Councilman Anthony J. Santino, Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Gary Hudes and Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, winners of November 2013 elections were also inducted during the ceremony. More than a year ago, on October 29, 2012, Hempstead Town encountered a storm unlike any other. Devastating floods and high winds destroyed thousands of homes in the South Shore communities.
Under Murray’s leadership, Hempstead Town went right to work, distributing supplies, replenishing decimated beaches, restoring essential facilities and services, assisting victims as they rebuilt their homes and supporting Sandy-impacted businesses. “Over the past year, we’ve confronted the aftermath of a natural disaster, we’ve struggled, persevered and continue to recover,” Murray said. “What became most evident during this time of trial and tribulation was that, indeed, home is not made up of bricks, mortar and lumber. Rather, home is where memories are made, neighbors care for one another and a community exudes the warmth of a family’s loving embrace. Welcome home, Welcome to Hempstead Town.” In recognition of bravery in the face of danger, Murray presented a distinguished service pin to Chief Anthony D’Esposito of the Island Park Fire Department.
In the dark of night, the chief and his crew of volunteer firefighters marched through several feet of floodwater, damaged utility wires, dangerous fires and wind-driven debris to rescue trapped neighbors in their Sandy-slammed community. Murray recognized the efforts Mike and Gabrielle Fehling, who lost their home and business, Empire Kayaks, to Superstorm Sandy. They worked tirelessly to re-open their popular business and rebuild their home. The supervisor also saluted Rocco Anastasio, co-owner of Tropix on the Mile in Freeport, who rebuilt the Sandyimpacted business with his own hands, working closely with craftsmen throughout the process. “While some of our families are still struggling and recovering from Sandy, I am here to reassure those members of our family that they will always have a home in Hempstead Town,” Murray said. “Neighbors have rebuilt their houses while our township is rebuilding our island home.”