A community spoke, a response has been heard, and FEMA funding for Tri-County Hospital appears to be for forthcoming. This is a good day and good news for hundreds of people in this entire regional area. Clearly, there were many champions who spearheaded the cause, including many within the public, the hospital administration and staff, government officials, and the silent but hard working doers and supports. A petition drive spearheaded by a a few, resulted in over 3000 signatures. And there were letters from school children as well. All of this spoke of the resilience of a people. And a special word of recognition must be paid to Senator Schumer, to other federal, state and local officials, and to many within the hospital organization.

The parallels of the local flood of last summer were horrendous for many individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions. Many of these folks and institutions---with the generous help from their neighbors to the north , south, east and west--- are still working through the losses and are dealing with the trauma of that devastating event. The scars are felt by many personally, including the local hospital facility on Memorial Drive in Gowanda.

The Gowanda Campus of the TLC Heath Network, known to many of as Tri-County Hospital and the adjoining offices and clinics were forced to be closed immediately following the flood. Within just a few days, temporary local needed medical facilities were established by the Hospital. There is no question, the situation had a dramatic impact on the lives of many individuals of all ages ...from the youngest to the most elderly, from routine health cases to emergency health care.

In retrospect, the tragic results of the catastrophic flood event has resulted in, what one would call a "gargantuan of complexity" for the Hospital, its staff and leadership, and the entire community. A flow of language permeated the community communications channels with such terms as : flood plain, FEMA, insurance carrier, land site locations and acquisition, flood mitigation, and the like. The community has had to wait on intervening and interposing deliberation after deliberation, "red tape" and interpretation of regulations and, one decision after another from a variety of agencies and bureaus. At the same time, much of the anxiety and frustration felt by a waiting public was surely horrendous for the entire Hospital staff, Administration, Board and health care community. They too, were most cognizant of and felt the pain and frustration experienced by the citizens of the area served by the Tri County Hospital campus. Our hats are off to the entire Hospital personnel.

With the now stated $18.5 million appropriation in place, there appears to be emerging a coherent, logical and sequential planning phase which will ideally reflect a strategic responsive initiative to meet the emergency and health care essentials of a public very much in need. And knowing the greater rural Gowanda area, such an initiative would enthusiastically and gratefully be received by a public who would gladly put their own shoulders to the wheel. After all, Gowanda and its neighbors are a resilient, resolute and resourceful people! And that is how I see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.