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Havre de Grace Sends Supplies to Hurricane Sandy Victims

The Susquehanna Hose Company is taking donations until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Diapers, bleach and bottled water fill a corner of the Susquehanna Hose Company's firehouse off Chapel Road, where Thursday afternoon, these and other supplies are scheduled to depart in a truck bound for New York.

Brian Minutoli, a member of the Susquehanna Hose Company, is going with them. He and seven other career firefighters from a station in Baltimore City organized a donation drive for Hurricane Sandy victims over the past week.

"Last Friday, we were talking about what we can do," said Minutoli, whose father is a retired firefighter from the FDNY. He said another member on his shift in Baltimore City is a retired captain from the FDNY.

"A lot of FDNY and NYPD live in Breezy Point and Rockaway Beach in the areas that were most affected. We found four families we could help," said Minutoli, who lives in Havre de Grace.

"We started on Sunday, and it took on a life of its own," Minutoli said.

The Hose Company set up a collection drive and donated 20 to 30 carbon monoxide detectors, according to Minutoli; he said those are "essential" because so many homes are on generators in New York after losing power.

Chad Myers, who volunteers at the Hose Company, has helped spread the word about the donation drive at Division Five among the community of Bulle Rock, where he lives; people have been taking donations to the Resident’s Club, and Hose Company volunteers them pick up, Myers said.

The community of Bulle Rock alone has sent three truckloads of donations to the firehouse as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Chief Scott Hurst. 

Cleaning supplies, pet food, dust masks, tools, batteries, buckets, brushes and rubber gloves are still needed, according to volunteers.

“They’re cleaning sheetrock in houses there,” Chad Myers explained of the storm recovery efforts in New York.

Once items get to the firehouse, volunteers Lisa Minutoli and Sonya Cubberley, whose husbands volunteer at the Hose Company, box them up; Pack and Store donated 30 boxes for the cause.

People are stepping in to help from all directions, even writing messages on their donations. One bleach bottle had "God Bless You All" written on it. A bag of dog food had a note that read, "We are all praying for you!!"

Merrill Dougherty, former chief of the Hose Company, has a second truck lined up in case the firefighters have more donations than will fit in one vehicle. Dougherty owns Chesapeake Rent All.

In the case of a second truck, Hurst said the donations may go to New Jersey, where many are also in need.

Separate from the donation drive out of Chapel Road, Hurst said the Hose Company plans to donate four boxes of old gear to fire companies in New York and New Jersey that have lost theirs, in partnership with the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association.

After Hurricane Katrina, the Hose Company sent gear to victims through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Hurst said.

The Susquehanna Hose Company is accepting donations until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. Items needed include batteries, work gloves, tools, rubber gloves, buckets, brushes, Advil/Tylenol, diapers and cleaning supplies. Drop off items at Division 5, located at 1542 Chapel Rd. in Havre de Grace.

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