Petty Officer Brian Blethen of Boothbay continues to help in New York areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. While his assigned duties are to focus on the Coast Guard base in Bayonne, N.J., he has found other ways to help the local community.
On Thanksgiving Day, Blethen volunteered at Bethel Gospel Assembly, a church soup kitchen in Harlem. More than 600 meals were served between the church and a nearby drug rehabilitation center.
In a letter Blethen received, the church's Senior Pastor Bishop Carlton T. Brown wrote: “You played a major role among the over 100 volunteers working on Thanksgiving Day.
“We were both moved and inspired by your enthusiasm as you worked so willingly wherever you were requested. We were also blessed that you chose to spend your Thanksgiving Holiday with us.
“Please know that we have a great time every year doing this for people in our community and we would be delighted to have you come again to either visit our church or to work along with us as we meet the needs of those around us.”
Power outages in New York are still very widespread, despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy made landfall more than a month ago.
“It is amazing how widespread the continued power outages are,” Blethen said. “Bayonne does not have power yet and it will be an extended period of time before it does restore power from the grid.”
Blethen will be returning home temporarily to spend Christmas with his family in Boothbay, and then going back to New York to complete his 60-day tour, which will end in mid-January, 2013.