The lingering impact of Hurricane Sandy continues to play a large role in Piermont.
Monday's Piermont Police Athletic League (PAL) Awards Luncheon at Confetti was no exception, with local officials from in and around Piermont gathering to honor the organization and its award winners.
"Let us pause today and give thanks for those good citizens of Piermont and those who came from near and far to help clean up, help out and helped sustain us with food and friendship throughout the dark nights," said Rev. Sylvia Welch before her blessing.
Piermont Police Chief Michael O'Shea cited the response to Hurricane Sandy when introducing Suffern Chief Clark Osborne as the PAL's Police Award winner for 2012. Osborn raised nearly $5,000 in gift cards that are being distributed as part of the Piermont PAL holiday program.
"We distributed those cards to people and they got clothes they needed," O'Shea said. "Some needed new appliances. Those little things mean a big thing in a crisis. If you have nothing warm to wear and you get a couple hundred dollars and buy warm clothes, that changes your life. That's what Clarke helped us do."
As Osborne surprised them with his efforts, he was surprised by the award, which he said he did not know was coming ahead of time.
The PAL gave its Civilian Award to John McAvoy.
"John does an annual concert for us at the PAL," O'Shea said. "He helps everybody. I was getting a list of people who needed someplace to go on Thanksgiving. The first person I went to and said he was coming with us, he said no, I'm going to John's house."
The impact of the PAL programs was also a key topic of conversation. Rockland County District Attorney Tom Zugibe said people in law enforcement have come a long way from the days when they thought all they could do was react to crimes and other emergencies.
"We now look at it and say there is a lot more that can be done," Zugibe said. "We can prevent victims from becoming victims in the first place. We can stop young people from getting involved in the criminal justice system and getting themselves a criminal record that they will have with them for the rest of their lives.
"There is a lot you can do, and it's programs like PAL where you answer that question, where you reach out to the community and try to understand what's going on. you build a trust with the community, so they understand that they have some voice in getting ahead of crime. Nothing exemplifies that than the commitment PAL makes in building that bond with our young people."
In addition to Zugibe, local officials at the event included Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders, Suffern Mayor Dagan LaCorte, Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy, Orangetown Police Captain Don Butterworth, Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco and State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee.