On Tuesday Lorraine Jackson reported that Assateague and Chincoteague Islands got hit hard by Sandy. Today she follows up with a happier report.
Chincoteague Island officials have been AWESOME keeping the public up to date on the status of the ponies. The following information became available this morning:
“Assateague Island officials are reporting to local media that all the ponies made it through the storm OK. They found high ground on the Island. Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company personnel will be on Assateague tomorrow to access the herd and we will update you as soon we hear from them. Also, personally checked on the [mares] at the carnival grounds today and they all looked good!”
At last update, the ponies were all doing well and were accounted for.
The Army National Guard arrived at Chincoteague on Halloween morning to assist with moving debris and helping people with their homes and businesses. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell also visited the island to assess the damage and determine what help was needed. Some parts of the town are still considered flood conditions with standing water, and it will be a long process to clean up.
I am truly in awe of the citizens and officials of Chincoteague in the midst of this disaster–most if not everyone on the island sustained damage to their homes or their livelihoods, or both. Almost nobody participated in the optional evacuation, deciding instead to stay in their homes and be close if help was required. And throughout all of it, I have watched countless citizens ask about the ponies and celebrate their survival when the storm was over. Chincoteague quite simply embodies what it means to be a community.
The stewards of the wild island ponies will have a long road of repairs ahead of them. If you have the resources to donate to the Red Cross now, please do so. And, about six months from now when you start considering a beautiful seashore for your summer vacation, consider spending your tourism dollars in a town full of great people, great beaches, and the precious treasure which is the historic and courageous Chincoteague Pony.
Photos courtesy of Chincoteague Emergency Operations Center