Surviving the flood of 2013 forged a bond between residents in one Herkimer neighborhood.
On Saturday, those neighbors gathered at Myers Park to celebrate being survivors.
“We’re no longer victims,” said Joe Burdick, who helped organize the event. “Now we’re survivors.”
The event included food, music, a bouncy house for children and free T-shirts to survivors that says “I survived the Flood of 2013, Herkimer, N.Y.” Burdick said the Elks Lodge, Clifford Fuel and D.J. Excite were among those donating to the event.
He also said a number of individuals donated money for the picnic.
“It was just an idea that I had and it’s really taken off,” he said. “It’s a party. I want to end the summer on a positive note.”
Burdick said he found 7.5 feet of water in his cellar on the morning of June 28, when the flooding was at its peak. He said he lost his furnace, freezer, hot water heater and anything that was in the cellar and garage, which included camping gear, memorabilia and his woodworking shop.
“A lot of people lost a lot more than I did,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the area on Aug. 29 to hand deliver some of the checks that were being issued by the state to help with flood relief.
Burdick said some others received their checks from the state on Saturday.
“So it’s a cause for even bigger celebration,” he said.
Burdick handed one of the free T-shirts to Jean Haggerty, a Park Avenue resident.
She said two months since the flooding, she is still doing some cleaning up. Haggerty said she lost two hot water heaters, two washers, two dryers and an antique refrigerator. She said she’s had the help of her family with her own clean up efforts.
“I’ve learned something. Our neighborhood is so much closer,” she said. “Everybody in the neighborhood helped everybody else when we were all down and out.”