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National Guard Helps in Hill towns

By Ray Hershel

(BUCKLAND, Mass.) (WGGB)– The Massachusetts National Guard continues to help those in need in the hard hit hill towns of Western Massachusetts.

Many western Massachusetts hill towns remain in a state of emergency.

Heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Irene have devastated the region.

The National Guard’s 379th Engineering Company has set up operations at the Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Buckland.

The school superintendent’s conference room has been transformed into the national’s guards operations center.

Captain Christopher Furlong says the guard is here to help, “We got up here two days ago and our response was part of the governor’s response to the tropical storm, we’ll assess the damage on the roadways out here and provide the locals with additional heavy equipment support to open up emergency access to houses and families stranded in rural hills here ,” says Captain Furlong.

In the meantime the opening of school has been delayed for three days as a result of the widespread damage from flooding according to School Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, “I’m still hopeful we’ll be able to start on Tuesday although it will be an unusual start of the school year because I am anticipating one or two of the elementary school buildings not being ready, we’ll need to move those entire school buildings into other elementary school buildings so we’re going to have to share space,” says Superintendent Buoniconti.

School Superintendent Michael Buoniconti has also issued an appeal for help to those families in need.

They’re looking for non-perishable food items, bottled water, formula and diapers, flashlights and batteries, pet food, and clothing which can be brought to any school in the district.

In the meantime, the hill towns of Western Massachusetts continue to try and get back on their feet after the devastating flooding from Hurricane Irene.

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