National Guard Units Helping Southern Tier Dig Out

Shoveling is a familiar sound during a storm, but the faces aren't those of your neighbors.

The helping hands in this case from Albany and Syracuse.

"It's great for us to come out here and show that we can help the community in times likes this and just do what we can, even if it's the little things like digging out the fire hydrants," said National Guard 2nd Lieutenant Christopher McKay.

Dozens of National Guard units have trekked into the Southern Tier, helping in any way they can, like driving nurses to work and finding hidden hydrants. 

Endicott officials say crashes and other calls take priority, so they are thankful for the reinforcements.

"The snow doesn't prevent fires from happening," said Endicott Police Chief Patrick Garey, "so having the FD able to get to that without having to dig through snow first to put a hose on the hydrant is very important for the safety of the village residents."

First responders aren't the only ones to notice the aid.

"Occasionally, people will pass by and say 'thank you for what you're doing,' " said Spec. Troy Lafave. "Makes me feel good. I feel good being able to help out where I can."

The crews from across the state are working 16-hour days to help the Southern Tier, but their teamwork makes the conditions more enjoyable.

"We make the best of it," Lafave said. "We make a bunch of jokes to do whatever we can to stay positive. Even if we're miserable, we're all miserable together, and it makes it all better."

As long as there's work to be done, national guard members say they will have shovels in hand and smiles on their faces.

National Guard crews will be in the area as long as there are jobs to be done. Officials say they will bring heavy machinery in to the village of Deposit on Thursday to remove snow.

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