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Many help in PA town

BY HEATHER MOYER | Hays, PA | August 26, 2000

The Pittsburgh suburb was hit by a record hundred-year flood at the beginning of August

that damaged almost 100 homes.

"The devastation in Hays is heartbreaking. So many people have contributed their time, effort, energy, and

supplies," said O'Connor of his district. "On behalf of the residents of Hays, I thank everyone who has

contributed to this effort."

Numerous organizations and people pitched in to help Hays, clean out residents' mud-filled basements

and try to get things as back to normal as they can. Recently the Marine Corps Reserve came into town at

the request of O'Connor. The Corps assisted in general cleanup. "They were a tremendous help," said a

spokesperson from O'Connor's office.

Other groups that volunteered their time include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

(IBEW), who helped rewire residents' homes and secure any hazards the floods caused.

One local priest stands out to many as one of the biggest helpers in Hays. Father David Crowley of the

Holy Angels Church was one of the first to be there for his parishioners, handing out much-needed

supplies for local residents for cleanup. "He's very caring, loving, and very understanding," said Terry

Fedigan of Rev. David Crowley. "He looks upon the parish as a family."

And that's exactly how Crowley sees the area. "We're all family," he said. Crowley's parish organized food

drives and is now working on clothing drives for those who need to replace lost items. Despite the

seemingly large impact of the flood in Hays, the town was not declared an emergency disaster area, which

makes securing funds for those who need it very difficult.

O'Connor's office is working hard to get the area more money, and so far they have been able to secure

some from the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Pittsburgh. The Hays cleanup is now looking into the

long-term planning phase. A spokesperson from O'Connor's office said if they have any more rain

anytime soon, more significant damage could occur.

To try to avert any more damage in the near future, groups are working quickly to dredge the nearby

stream that rose well-past flood stage and soaked the town. There will also be a meeting to discuss

long-term planning on Sept. 7 at the Holy Angels Church. Crowley realizes the challenges from a flood of

this nature. "The tough part is just getting things back to normal," he said.


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