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Heartfelt thanks to shelter workers

Sleeping in a shelter was not on my bucket list, but I must say it was an amazing experience and very humbling.
Yes, cots are not comfortable, but we were “sheltered,” fed, and cared for. I met and renewed old acquaintances from E.L. and surrounding communities. All were welcome. We had interesting conversations, played games, laughed, and sometimes cried.
I am so proud to say I’m from East Longmeadow. What an organized group of caring, hard working, knowledgeable people who didn’t waste a moment getting our town family protected in time of disaster.
Many thanks to the children who cleared tables, brought us drinks and even washed windows – to the principals who served over a thousand meals a day, to the superintendent of East Longmeadow’s schools, who every day washed tables between seatings, and to our school chefs with their warm smiles, good food, and extra help with my husband’s diet. There were drivers who transported folks back and forth to their homes or to the pharmacy. Even our town doctor made visits. Our school nurses working around the clock adapted to the seniors as well as to our children. Their “patients” ranged from a 6-day old to many in their 90s. The senior center staff, selectmen, school committee were all there. The custodians quietly kept everything clean, and our police officers were always protecting us. Our firefighters were often visible and our chief was there every time I turned around. And there was Don with an ELCAT jacket who never seemed to sleep. What an amazing team!
It was truly the cooperation of so many giving people who made this work so well. My mother used to say, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We say thank you all for the lemonade.
Our 7-year old granddaughter said to her mother, “technically, Nana thinks this is a hotel.” I say, at least four stars.
Judy Smith
East Longmeadow
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