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107th Airlift Wing assisting in storm cleanup

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Western New Yorkers are downstate helping in the Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

Once it became clear the biggest problems were downstate, the demand increased for specialist personnel to help out.Six swift water rescue teams from fire companies in Chautuaqua and Erie Counties are on Long Island, helping Nassau and Suffolk Counties clean up. They are there on a three-day deployment.

The Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing airlifted 75 members to the downstate area to help with the dig out and cleanup.

Wing Vice Commander Colonel John Higgins says many know the problems because they volunteered last year for the Hurricane Irene cleanup.

"We asked for volunteers.  We've been planning on this as soon as we found out last Friday.  We just put out an all-call out to our (800 members)," Higgins said.

"So we got about 125 folks volunteering just like that. They're all excited about this, love going down and helping folks in the state."

Higgins says the deployment should last about a week.
 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.