A Fishers Island Blizzard 2015 Thank you

by Jane Ahrens

The Fishers Island community members would like to send a very sincere thank you to everyone on island during the Blizzard! There are so many who did their part and went above and beyond to keep us all safe, warm, informed, and organized for any emergency that might arise. Large or small, every effort kept family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances comfortable and out of harm’s way. We have done our best to include everyone here – always running a risk of leaving something out, so please email info@fishersisland.net if an addition should be made!

Thanks to:
The Fishers Island community members representing the FI Emergency Management Team, school, ferry, utility company, communications and the town who gathered Monday morning to discuss details pertaining to the impending blizzard predicted for Monday, January 26-Wednesday, January 27 as it impacted Fishers Island. They included Karen Goodwin, Carol Giles, Bill Bloethe, Ace Ahrens, Elizabeth Reid, Jamie Doucette, Jane Ahrens, Chris Finan and Louisa Evans.

Tim Patterson, who was off the island for the meeting and upon his return, immediately stepped in acting as Emergency Coordinator. He thoughtfully directed volunteers and islanders to see us safely through this 36-hour storm watch.

Karen Goodwin for initiating the School Messenger Community List, and for sending out all the important phone messages from Tim Patterson regarding the storm to Fishers residents.

Aly Cochrane for inputting all the on-island residents’ phone numbers into the School Messenger system.

Z&S and BD electricians for quickly assessing the generator needs at FI School.

Dave Burnham’s prompt delivery of a generator to the school in the event it was needed AND Bob Evan’s offer to deliver a fuel tank if needed.

Carol Giles, Jess Hall, Chris Dollar, Tawnya Eastman, Jared Kaplan, Jamie Doucette, Lydia Doucette, Nate Malinowski, Chris Finan, Dan Huggard and the Fishers Island School students who all helped in the carting and transport of the Emergency Shelter supplies from the school to the Firehouse.

Tim Patterson and Carol Giles for opening the Firehouse and overseeing the communication directives.

Joe and Tracy Brock for cleaning and readying the basement of the Firehouse as the Emergency Shelter in case it was needed.

Before the shelter was even open, Carol Giles went to the Village Market and got a lot of cold cuts and food for anyone who might be at the firehouse.

Bill Bloethe followed with more bread and rolls and assured the team that if more were needed he would go to the store and help get it to the shelter. Bill and his son stopped by more than once to see that no one was going hungry.

Paul Giles for properly checking the emergency generator at the firehouse and instructing some there as to how it should be done. Jeff Edwards for being there to assist in any way.

Chris and Trudi Edwards (and Skip, the wonder dog), Dirk Harris, John Berquist (driven by Ken Ahman), Ryan Rodd and last, but certainly not least, Carol Giles for pulling three hour shifts through the night from 5:30 pm Monday through noon on Tuesday at the Firehouse.

While there was no need to shelter anyone, thanks to the fact that the Utility Company had done a lot of trimming since Sandy, people who were plowing and helping out around the island were able to stop in and get a cup of coffee, a bite of food and use the restroom at the Firehouse. 

Steve Malinowski was the Sea Stretcher Captain on duty, made the call and moved the boat to Pirates Cove with navigator Joe Brock.

JR Edwards organized a crew including Steve Malinowski, Aaron Lusker, Paul Skinner, Matt Skinner, Dirk Harris, Joe Brock, and Jeff Edwards to clean off Sea Stretcher and make sure that it would be in good order if a run to the mainland was necessary. They shoveled out at the Yacht Club, moved the boat, and Pirates Cove’s crew saw that the parking lot at Pirates Cove Marine was clear in case of emergency. The boat is still at the Cove – a big thanks to Pirates Cove Marine for power and slip to have continued easy access.

Dr. Chris Ingram who remained on-island should his care be needed. Thank you to the Shillo family for shoveling the walk and to Ernie Middleton for plowing out the Doctor’s office and home driveways.

Utility Company personnel including George Horning, Bryan Marteeny, and Mike Conroy manned the main office in case of emergency throughout the storm. Aaron Rice took care of the East end snow removal.

DOT’s Jamie Rogers and Bob Rogers, Dick Grebe, Aaron Rice and all the plow operators who worked long hours to clear the island roads, driveways and parking lots of drifting snow.

Tommy Doroshevich for blowing snow at the FI School during the storm and readying it for school to reopen Wednesday.

Ferry District managers RJ Burns and Gordon Murphy and the crew members. The ferry made the last run Monday night, and after a lot of shoveling and snow clearing, resumed the regular schedule Wednesday morning. A crew of RJ Burns, Jon Hiller, Mike Fiora and Jon Haney came in to begin clearing snow at New London Terminal on Tuesday afternoon and evening in the storm. Gordon Murphy and Don Brown cleared the Fishers Island Ferry staging area at Silver Eel.

Jane Ahrens for keeping us all updated regarding storm-related information through Fishers Island’s Facebook page and fishersisland.net.

Additional Acts of Kindness:
Candy Whitman alerted the volunteers of the need to plow out Gus Kinsolving’s driveway. Though Ryan Rodd had been able to get out of the drive at 6:00 am, by the time he finished his shift the drive was not passable even with his strong running Jeep CJ with lots of clearance. Greg Cypherd was alerted to Gus and Ryan’s situation was able clear the driveway.

Joe and Tracy Brock also helped out Joe Rogan and Betty Peishoff, clearing away snow, access their residences and checking on them during the storm. Joe Brock for offering to provide transport for anyone who required it during the storm.

Beth Stern for her offer to help our elderly with shoveling, clearing a way out of the house or running errands.

Alex Williams for offering to tow anyone that might find themselves stuck in a snow bank.

Lloyd Reisenberg, who is an emergency coordinator on Long Island, for keeping Fishers Island coordinators in the loop as to their situation and asking that we let him know how we were doing.

The Bloethes and their crew who kept the Village Market open for necessities.

The American Legion for opening only when the roads were safe.

And, thank you to those who offered their assistance in any way. The Fire District, including the Sea Stretcher, actually had to turn down help, as everyone wanted to assist in the time of need!

The Utility Company report: No power outages and continual water service.

Ferry District completed all scheduled runs on Monday and Wednesday.

School Messenger Community List phone call system created and employed. Each safety message from Emergency Coordinator Tim Patterson was delivered to 171 year-round resident phone numbers through the school’s School Messenger system.

And yes, it was a Blizzard! Officially, “The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm which contains large amounts of snow OR blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph and visibilities of less than 1/4 mile for an extended period of time of at least 3 hours.”

Best guess on the snow total for Fishers Island Monday-Wednesday, January 26-28, 2015 is … 24” – 26”, with drifting snow piling as high as 10’ in some places.

Enjoy the Blizzard 2015 – aka Juno – photos from our readers! Click on any photo to see a larger image or watch as a slideshow. Featured photos by Marlin Zambo-Bloethe

Again, we have done our best to include everyone here – always running a risk of leaving something out, so please email info@fishersisland.net if an addition should be made and if you have a photo to add to the gallery!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program

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