Klingerstown residents gather for Spirit Day a year after flood
Published: September 20, 2012
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KLINGERSTOWN - Only a year after the heavy rains from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee flooded the two creeks running through town, children raced little wooden boats down the Mahantongo Creek on Saturday afternoon as the small community gathered for the Klingerstown Community Spirit Day.
"The community wanted to do something positive after going through such a hard time last year," Tricia Reed, case manger for the Klingerstown Long Term Recovery Committee, said.
"We also wanted to thank all the people that helped with the cleanup effort."
During the beautiful weather all afternoon, local residents got together at the Klingerstown Carnival Grounds for a pig roast, entertainment and other activities, including "Close up Magic of Randy" with magician Randy Snedden, Williamstown. Catering was provided by two local Amish families.
Contractor Martin Barry, Elizabethville, projects coordinator with the KLTRC, made 52 wooden boats for children to use on the water.
"We wanted to make the water fun again for the children," Reed said. "It can be dangerous, but it can be fun too."
Reed said the event took about six weeks to put together.
Buzz Schaeffer, 76, and Wilson Straub, 70, both lived in the town when Hurricane Agnes swept through the area in 1972.
"We were down and out that time," Schaeffer said. "We were really hurting."
Straub said a few weeks later, the local pastor organized a similar event like the one being held Saturday to boost the spirits of the town.
"It helped settle nerves," Schaeffer said. "It helped us get our spirits up and have a good time."
Lindsey Riegner, of Christ Lutheran Church, Barto, returned to Klingerstown for Saturday's event after her youth organization helped cleanup efforts in the town earlier in the year.
"As much as we helped them, they changed us as well," Riegner said. "We've gotten very close to them. It's a very unique town. It is kind of its own area with something magical about it. Everyone remembers our names and we feel we are always welcome back."
Reed said Lindsey and her group have become part of the community.
"They fit in with us extremely well," she said. "There's just some kind of connection in Klingerstown and it's nice to see people come in and see that."
Reed said that while the event has shown how far the community has come in recovery from a year ago, there is still work that needs to be done.
She said that every case but one is back in their homes. She said the resident has been staying at the Klingerstown Hotel for a year while the KLTRC continues to look for a new home.
She also thanked Himmel's Church in Line Mountain and the United Way for their support with cleanup efforts throughout the year.