This Thanksgiving, Hudson Valley residents treasure community

Newsday Westchester asked politicians, sports stars and other members of the community in the Hudson Valley what they are thankful for this year. (Nov. 21, 2012)

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, health, family and community topped the list of what Hudson Valley residents are most thankful for this year.

The region had a particularly rough few weeks after the superstorm left Westchester and Rockland counties federal disaster areas. Five people lost their lives in the region, including two young boys and a retired NYPD sergeant; more than 500,000 homes lost power; transportation was crippled; and an estimated $100 million of property damage was suffered in Westchester County alone. But when asked what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving, many local residents focused on what they have instead of what was lost.

"This Thanksgiving, we're thankful for being part of a great community," Village of Piermont Fire Chief Daniel Goswick said. "Our mayor and village board came through and got the people here who we needed to get here, such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the state."


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Sandy's damage hit Goswick firsthand. He and his wife, Candy, lost their pool, furnace, boiler, washer and dryer during the storm after water levels rose high up on the first floor of their two-story home. Despite the losses, Goswick chose to look at the positive. "I'm thankful nobody got hurt," he said. "All the material stuff can be replaced."

Seeing the damage Sandy did to her community gave Marie Houston, president of the White Plains and Greenburgh-based chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., a greater appreciation of her own circumstances.

"There are people who lost everything. I complained about not having any power, but I thank God that I still have everything, all my family and all of my friends," Houston said.

On Newsday Westchester's Facebook page, residents and local organizations also shared what they are thankful for this year.

The Volunteer Center of the United Way in Tarrytown said the group was "thankful for all the giving people out there who donated their time and talents to local organizations." And Roxanne Watson of Nanuet wrote that she was thankful to a U.S. Coast Guard service member named Michael "who signed his organ donor card and told his family he wanted to be a donor and saved my life with his heart."

To find out what other Hudson Valley residents, business owners, politicians and celebrities are thankful for this year, check out our video and photo galleries.

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