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Mike Riehls

Storm team goes above and beyond


August 29, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A municipal department head may have come up with the slogan community boosters are looking for.

“It’s neat to work in a community where the word, community, is something people live, not just talk about,” said Brett Smith, Grosse Pointe Shores public works director.


Smith made the comment while praising the response of residents and city employees to the July 19 wind storm.

It took teamwork to clear the city of storm debris.

“We had many trees down and a lot of power outages,” Smith said.

The storm hit during the evening.

“I was with my wife,” Smith said, “We headed right to work.”

They started clearing branches off Lakeshore.

“Residents and motorists stopped and assisted us,” Smith said.

“We need to give thanks to our residents. We have a good group of people here.”

Public works crews responded, too.

“Once the storm is over, their work starts,” Smith said. “With all the power outages, we had a lot of opportunities to assist our residents. The guys were happy to do so. It was kind of neat for residents to ask for assistance. We were glad to help.”

Councilman Robert Barrette Jr. accompanied Smith’s rounds during the cleanup.

“He needs to give himself some credit,” Barrette said. “He was going up to customer’s houses that needed extra assistance to make sure they were all right. I saw him stop three or four times at different people’s house.”

“The (public safety) department is extremely grateful to Brett and his crews for the incredible work they did in a short period of time,” said Public Safety Chief John Schulte. Power interruptions triggered 53 burglar alarms. All required investigation.

“We were really hit hard,” Schulte said. “Public safety and public works worked well together. We’re grateful for their cleaning of the roads and sitting on hot (power) lines.”

“As usual, the public safety department made itself available for anything we needed,” Smith said. “They were needed that night.”


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