Newport, N.Y. - Since Friday, Newport Mayor Ashley Hennings has been going to as many properties in the village that sustained major damage during this week's flooding as she can, so she can see the damage for herself.
Sunday afternoon she was at a home along Route 28 when we caught up to her. She says this entire portion of Herkimer County needs help, "I'm hoping for county and state leaders to reach out to this area. We have some pretty widespread devastation through the towns of Norway, Ohio and Newport, the villages of Poland, Cold Brook, Newport, Middleville. As we continue to clean up and the river recedes and the flash flooding comes to a halt hopefully, we have widespread devastation and we need help cleaning up the homes and people need help understanding the funding and where we can go and who can help us and what comes in the weeks and months ahead."
Hennings says she understands the immediate need right now is to continue the cleanup, and understands it is the weekend, but she is hoping in the next couple of days, to learn more about how people in these effected communities can get some financial assistance, "We need help, we need to reach out, people need ears to hear what the issues are and to get them help, people don't know where to start."
The issues in Newport are many. There are numerous homes that suffered major damage, there are parts of roads that washed away, there's still plenty of debris along guide rails, and there are three large mudslides that have dumped tons of soil from the hills above onto properties below.
There were a number of heartfelt moments we saw along Route 28 in Newport on Sunday. Among them, a woman named Beth, who did not want to give her last name. She was going door to door to see if she could help those effected, "I live in the community and I was blessed to not have very much damage and there lots of people that have." She adds, It's one of the best parts of living in a small community, we help each other out."
Beth says during her journey through Newport she's been doing whatever people needed, from helping rip up wet carpets, to cooking.
Another Newport resident, Craig Wheeler, was going from property to property on his ATV Sunday afternoon to see if anyone needed help. When asked what he had seen thus far, he said, "A lot of mud, a lot of floods, a lot of people in trouble."
Mayor Hennings says this is what makes communities like Newport so special, "We can lose everything and anything, but what we don't lose is the community, and the helping hands, and the hearts and the thoughts. Just a widespread caring."