Flood Recovery Efforts Wins 204th Engineer Battalion "Unit of the Year"
6/15/2012 (Updated 11:35:30 PM)(Source: Kate Thornton)
On Friday, Mayor Matt Ryan and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo recognized Binghamton's 204th Engineer Battalion as "Unit of the Year" as announced by "Salute Magazine." The 204th Engineer Battalion also earned "Unit of the Month" in the October/November 2011 issue.
The 204th earned this prestigious title for its response to flood victims after tropical storms Irene and Lee last August and September.
"It's humbling. We don't do the work for awards. For the community to come out in this way is really quite an honor and we enjoy it," said Lt. Col. Commander James Freehart of the 204th Engineer Battalion.
Last August, the soldiers of the 204th Engineer Battalion were continuously in motion. They first reacted to flash floods in the Catkills and the Adirondacks as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.
Captain Keven O'Reilly said he was in Cobelskill helping with the recovery effort in the Schoharie town.
"We got word that Tropical Storm Lee was headed towards Binghamton and that there was going to be a need for recovery effort for those that were not evacuated from either buildings, hotels, or where ever they were," said O'Reilly.
O'Reilly and his troops had to conquer the flooded Route 17 out to Owego to rescue 100 people from two different hotels that were taken over by the overflowing banks of the Susquehanna River.
O'Reilly returned home February of 2011 from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He said it's great to have an opportunity to serve the Binghamton Community. "We really look forward to the opportunities to help especially in great times of need like during the floods."
The 204th Engineer Battalion were a necessity, according to Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, in the evacuation and recovery efforts of September's floods.
"The evacuation and then the clean-up, and without them, we would of been way far behind where we are now," said Ryan.
The more than 600 soldiers of the 204th Engineers consists of teh 1156th Engineer Company in Kingston, the 827th Engineer Company in Walton and Horeseheads, and the 152nd Engineer Company from Buffalo.
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