Residents gain strength from one another

Recently the Harlem Valley has seen much tragedy, more than one community should have to deal with in the span of one short week. That the majority of events below all occurred within the same day, on Thursday, June 2, is just that much more unsettling.There was the unimaginable death of a Millbrook man trying to do a good deed — electrocuted by downed wires while attempting to extinguish a brush fire started by those very same wires after a tree fell on them. The loss of Edward Rochfort will be felt by the Millbrook community, and the towns and villages surrounding it, for years to come. That his act of altruism would lead to his demise only makes his passing that much more tragic.Not too many miles away, a fire on Route 22 in Amenia destroyed a house owned by James Marshall, an Amenia resident who taught at The Hotchkiss School in Salisbury, Conn., for more than 20 years. Although blessed to have been elsewhere at the time of the blaze, the loss must be gargantuan and the support he will need at this point going forward just as large.Over the border in Sharon, Conn., there were two other fires that day — one a small blaze at Paley’s Farm Market and the other a structure fire.In LaGrange, just south of Millbrook, there was yet another house fire, thankfully with no fatalities or injuries.Even Poughkeepsie saw its share of disasters the following day, as there was a fire at Vassar College on Friday morning.All of this chaos, these tragedies, serve to remind us how fragile life is and how temporary our circumstances are. Such emergencies also remind us of how much we rely on one another — on our firefighters, our EMTs, our police and doctors, our neighbors, friends and families — and what a debt of gratitude we owe to each.While we mourn the loss of those who have not made it through such tragedies, let us also take a moment to thank the universe for those who have. Let us pay respect and honor those who are most important in our lives and express appreciation to the tireless volunteers and members of our community who work so hard to keep each and every one of us as safe as possible.

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