About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.
Ed Mangano was sworn into office as Nassau County executive on Jan. 1, 2010. Over the past three years, he's faced multiple challenges in office including a fiscal crisis. However, no challenge has been larger than historical Superstorm Sandy, which left a trail of devastation in its wake.
Here, Mangano shares the challenges of rebuilding after Sandy.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve taken on?
A. The biggest challenge clearly is the recovering and rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Sandy. It takes up enormous part of our daily activities.
As we move from life-saving stage to recovery stage. We are now working with the state and federal government, moving towards rebuilding stage, towards the application of the funding coming available to assist homeowners, businesses, critical infrastructures and the environment.
We are working on these four main categories each day:
(1) Homeowners: There’s assistance that is required to get homeowners back into their homes and fill the gaps between insurance and uninsured, and application and mitigated programs to elevate homes and harden them against future storms. More than 74,000 homeowners applied for assistance through FEMA.
(2) Small businesses: There are 4,300 small businesses that suffered losses related to Hurricane Sandy. We are following those programs to help get them back in business so they can continue to employ residents here in the county.
(3) Critical Infrastructure: From roadways to signal reconstruction and wastewater treatment, we are working on a plan to elevate, restore and rebuild those structures. Some of which is underway now.
(4) Last, but most importantly, are our water restoration and waterway cleanup.
Q. What inspired you to take on this challenge?
A. The inspiration here is the absolute spirit and determination of our residents to rebuild and get back into their homes. To continue to live, work and raise a family.
We have the opportunity to emerge from this very tough time as a stronger county with respect to housing, businesses, infrastructure and the environment, and we are on the path to do just that."
Q. Did you succeed?
A. We’re seeing successes through the programs that we are able to put place for residents and businesses who are waiting for rebuilding dollars that are moving through the federal process.
We’ve helped. We’ve literally helped thousands of residents from STEP programs and other programs to help them get through this very tough period while they wait for insurance proceeds and federal assistance.
In addition, we’ve helped over 500 businesses stay in business and kept employment steady. We have roadway restorations underway for roads damaged by Hurricane Sandy. We have signal restoration underway. We have a federal, state, and county forces working on a taskforce to rebuild our wastewater treatment plant and an ocean outflow pipe.
About this column: We’re dedicating the month of April and May to telling the stories of people locally and statewide who have overcome the impossible, affecting positive change in their own lives, or in communities. Sponsored by Grape-Nuts.