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Edgemont Family Thankful For Community's Help

Theresa Travalino, 83, tends to her husband Dean, 95. The family members have been struggling in their Edgemont house without power for 11 days.
Theresa Travalino, 83, tends to her husband Dean, 95. The family members have been struggling in their Edgemont house without power for 11 days. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

EDGEMONT, N.Y. — Edgemont resident Theresa Travalino didn't realize how exhausted she was until she was finally able to sit down.

Travalino, 83, is not supposed to be on her feet a lot. But after the power went out Oct. 29 from Hurricane Sandy, she didn't have much choice but to look after her bedridden husband, Dean, 95. Her daughter, Joy, has been temporarily staying at their house to help care for her father, who has dementia and needs constant attention.

"What do you do when something like this happens?" Theresa Travalino asked Thursday as she sat in her living room, still cold and dark as it has been for the past 11 days.

The Travalinos' home is one of about 3,000 Greenburgh sites that remained without power Thursday afternoon after last week's hurricane. Theresa Travalino said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner recommended they go to the Atria senior living facility, which has been opening its doors to people without power, but even the Atria wouldn't provide the kind of care that Dean Travalino needs.

Joy Travalino said she couldn't believe the lack of response to her parents' situation. Frequent calls to Feiner and assisted-living facilities were no help either — Dean Travalino can move only with the help of a medical lifting device.

"I know there are people who are worse off. He may not have lost his house, but he's really vulnerable right now," Joy Travalino said about the risk her father runs for catching pneumonia in the cold house. "This is a dangerous situation for him to be in."

Joy Travalino reached out to Robert Bernstein, a director of the Edgemont Community Council, who immediately publicized the issue on the council's Facebook page. Council member Aubrey Graf-Daniels volunteered to gather donations from the community and take them to the Travalinos' house.

The biggest help has been the food, Theresa Travalino said. Many Edgemont community members offered to provide warm meals for the Travalinos.

"It was an amazing outpour of support that I never dreamed would happen," Joy Travalino said.

Graf-Daniels said the Community Council now plans to put together a list of families who are in situations similar to the Travalinos' for future crises. Town officials seem to have forgotten about those who need the most help, Graf-Daniels said.

"I email Paul Feiner every single day about this, but he just forwards my emails into his chain letters," Graf-Daniels said.

Joy Travalino said that if her brother's neighbor hadn't donated his generator to them this week to run overnight, she doesn't know what they would have done.

"There is no plan in this town for the disabled. That's the scary thing," Joy Travalino said. "If they can't handle this, what's going to happen if there's a real disaster? And this is just the beginning of the winter season."

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