There are several wonderful shelters for those without power throughout the state, but the West Hartford shelter at is particularly impressive, said Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, as she toured the school on Wednesday afternoon.
“The food is great, and there are so many students volunteering,” said Wyman. “Having the young people bring their energy provides excitement, especially for the seniors. It’s fantastic.”
An army of , mostly from Conard’s fall sports teams, mobilized in just a few hours to help set up the shelter at the high school after a decision was made on Tuesday to relocate the town’s shelter from to Conard.
“You should be so proud of yourselves,” Wyman told a group of students from the girls’ field hockey team who were helping in the cafeteria. “I am proud of you, your parents are proud of you, and the state is proud of you. I can’t wait to go back and tell the governor about this.”
Wyman was led around the shelter by West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka and Tom Moore, assistant superintendent for adminstration. They showed her the cafeteria, where three meals a day are being served with food supplies from area schools and donations from food vendors. Wyman then toured the gymnasiums, where a total of 380 cots have been set up. She took her time, stopping every few feet to give hugs and words of encouragement.
As she toured the shelter, residents stopped her and thanked her for her support and praised the efforts of town officials during this crisis. But again and again, she was asked when power will be restored.
“Soon I hope,” she replied, adding the state is doing everything possible to “get you back home.”
Wyman had a reunion of sorts with Carol and Stanley Johnson of West Hartford, who used to be neighbors of hers in Tolland. She told them Tolland resembles a “war zone.” The Johnsons are not sleeping in the shelter, they said, but come in for meals and for a place to warm up.
Wyman and Slifka spent some time chatting with Rosemarie and Pierre Kennedy, who live on Fern Brook and were two of the approximately 250 people who slept at Conard last night. Rosemarie Kennedy requires oxygen full-time and is concerned about her oxygen supply. Wyman, who made notes as she toured the shelter, told her, “You are in our prayers.”
Pen and paper in hand, Wyman met briefly with West Hartford Fire Chief Gary Allyn, State Sen. Beth Bye, and Town Council member Shari Cantor, and asked especially about the seniors, noting West Hartford has a large elderly population.
Chief Allyn told her the town’s main arteries are now open but there are several pockets still not cleared.
The lieutenant governor said she was impressed to learn three school nurses are doing shifts around the clock at the shelter.
“I haven’t seen that in any other town,” she said.