Rock the Mohawk makes money roll into flood-relief effort

FORT PLAIN – Less than five months ago, the Harry Hoag Elementary School was an emergency shelter after floodwaters destroyed many homes of Reid and Abbott Street and damaged parts of the village.

However, locals returned to the school Sunday to raise money for those who are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Rock The Mohawk, a festival to raise money for relief efforts run by the Rev. Nancy Ryan of the Fort Plain Reformed Church, brought people to the school’s gymnasium to hear music by local bands. Raffles and a Chinese auction also were conducted.

According to Vic Sgambato, a committee member for the event, all the money raised – which includes ticket sales to the event – goes directly into an account at Patriot Federal Bank in Ryan’s name. The money will then be used as needed for the recovery efforts.

“We decided we are simply going to turn the money over to her,” Sgambato said Sunday.

Gerry Murray of Patriot Asset Management said this morning, to his knowledge, $5,400 was raised.

Ryan, who has been volunteering with the recovery since they day the flooding hit, said the funds will help pay for the recovery effort.

Ryan said an exact fundraising goal was not set.

“All I know is every dollar raised will go back to the community; and we need it, because now we are buying sheet rock and insulation and windows and doors,” she said Sunday.

Ryan said the reconstruction is being helped by a constant supply of volunteers who keep the cost for labor down.

However, she said, hot water heaters and furnaces are expensive, so donations are needed to help village residents.

“We have the money. We’re spending money. Money is coming in and this is just one more place it is coming from,” Ryan said.

Ryan said while repairs have not be completed as quickly as she hoped, little by little the work is being done.

“We are not nearly as devastated as we were in June, but we aren’t behind the eight ball like we thought we would be by October or November,” Ryan said.

Steve and Karri Weber, an Abbott Street couple whose house was destroyed, said they have benefited greatly from the volunteers’ efforts.

Steve Weber said while the flooding destroyed their home and business, the local churches and volunteers have helped the couple a great deal. He noted volunteers helped them prepare the foundation for their new home.

“I’ll tell you, if it weren’t for the volunteers – and especially the churches – we would be lost,” Steve Weber said.