MATTAPOISETT, Mass. — Nighttime temperatures dipped below 10 degrees and citizens of Mattapoisett slept on hard tile floors during Winter Storm Nemo, Saturday. They had congregated in the Old Rochester Regional School following rolling power outages. Mary Lyons, police chief for Mattapoisett, had too few cots for the large number of people displaced by the storm.
Thankfully they won’t be sleeping on the tile anymore, thanks to five soldiers from the 1166 Transportation Company out of Worchester who delivered 50 sets of cots, blankets and sleeping pads Sunday morning.
“This is the stuff we want to do,” said Sgt. Eileen Boyle, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the delivery. Her team, like many others throughout the state, was stationed at a key location in preparation for the storm. When Lyons’ township contacted them, they moved out with the much-needed supplies.
Alicia Neugent and her family were among those left stranded without power.
“The police picked us up yesterday,” she commented. “Our heat went out with the power, and the roads were terrible. We didn’t want to risk driving on them.”
She and her son John spent the night in the school and when they saw Spc. Justin Wilcox and Pvt. First Class Stephen Ahern bringing the cots their eyes lit up. John even offered to help carry the boxes in, but the Soldiers made quick work of the delivery.
“This is a small mission, but it sure is a good mission,” said Boyle. After the delivery she and her crew returned to the pool of Soldiers available for life-saving operations continuing throughout the state.
“My experience with the Guard has always been great,” said Lyons after they left. “We’ve been very pleased to work with them over the years.”
That continued cooperation between local rescue services and the Massachusetts National Guard has been part of a long-term campaign to refine emergency response in times of regional disasters. Recent examples such as Sandy and Nemo go to prove that the hard work has been well spent.