Maine was lucky to sidestep Hurricane Irene. I was interested to see how the city was positioned for a possible crisis. Behind the scenes, without our awareness, city staff was preparing for the worst.

Department heads, assistants, additional personnel and the city manager were organizing. The Emergency Response Team set up 72 hours before the predicted hurricane, planning and orchestrating all the things that needed to be done. Waterfront residents were warned, an emergency shelter was staffed by the Red Cross, boat ramps were removed in sync with tide and skilled staff under Tom Meyers, 911 calls were returned to South Portland, evacuation plans were made, and weather reports were tracked.

Without our knowledge, while we were safe at home, city employees worked overtime to guarantee our protection. Fire and police were prepared, Chiefs Googins and Guimond worked around the clock, other city personnel covered phones and City Manager Gailey was overseer.

Had disaster struck, South Portland would have been in good hands. As we sat in the safety of our homes, please know that city employees were hard at work, leaving their families alone to insure our safety. Our staff is well trained, professional and incredibly committed to every resident and surrounding communities. I met a Cape Elizabeth gentleman who sought protection at our shelter and I was thankful we helped.

As you give thanks for Irene passing us by, please remember to give thanks to those who dedicated their time, so that in a disaster, we remain as safe as we are today.

Mayor Rosemarie De Angelis
South Portland