Pataki Comes To Rockaway
By Gary G. Toms
New York State Governor George Pataki arrived in the Rockaway area to tour the crash site of American Airlines flight 587, a day after the horrific event.
As the chopper landed on Beach Channel Drive, between 127 and 128 Street, Pataki was greeted by a number of residents from the community, media representatives and law enforcement officials. He was then escorted to an awaiting car and driven to the site of the wreckage.
Once there, Pataki met with Chamber of Commerce President Liz Sulik and State Senator Malcolm Smith. The three walked around and surveyed the area. Pataki talked with many of the emergency response teams, and praised them on their rapid response and being able to keep life-threatening situations under control.
"You all have performed admirably and you have shown that the people of Rockaway are strong and courageous in the face of unimaginable adversity. God bless you all."
Pataki then made his way down to the firehouse on Beach 116 Street to talk with firemen and police officers.
"Your bravery and dedication to service is amazing. You are true heroes, and you have managed to make every department in the country proud of you and your efforts. You both have done a fantastic job."
The Sunset Diner, also located in the immediate area of Beach 116 Street, was the final stop for Pataki. The Governor, along with Sulik and Smith, took the opportunity to have a small light lunch and pose for photos with other customers.
"It is evident that the will and spirit of the people of Rockaway has not been broken. You are to be commended for the method in which you are handling the circumstances of the last three months," said Pataki.
Liz Sulik continued, "The community has really pulled together during this tragedy. We are strong and we will overcome."