As many of us were huddled in our homes as the worst of Hurricane/ Superstorm Sandy blew through the area Monday night, an unofficial army of people were hard at work.
Utility crews, firefighters (including many volunteers), police, highway crews and 911 staffers were among those whose service helped minimize the problems caused by Sandy.
They were kept busy, answering calls from area residents about trees, branches or utility lines down, particularly on roads, watching key spots for signs of flooding, aiding area residents in emergencies and trying to restore utility services as quickly as possible.
Bill Bettwy cartoon
The work they did lessened the problems caused by the storm, and to all of them, we offer our thanks.
Some, particularly utility crews, face more long work days ahead as they repair lines and replace poles damaged by the storm. As in any emergency, the repairs cannot happen soon enough for those whose lives have been disrupted.
Fortunately, our area largely was spared from the widespread devastation suffered closer to the coast, and we escaped the heavy snow that piled up in mountainous regions to our south that would complicate recovery efforts.
Still, Sandy left her mark on our region and won't be soon forgotten. We hope the lessons will encourage people to be better prepared for the next emergency.
The convergence of conditions that came together to make Sandy such a major storm is rare, so we luckily might never see a similar storm in our lifetimes.
But we will face other weather emergencies, probably within the coming months as winter bears down.
Sandy serves as reminder to take the warnings seriously.
And during the emergencies to come, we should continue to be grateful to all of the men and women our emergency responders and utility repair crews - who remain hard at work when weather's at its worst.
Knowing they are ready to help provides comfort when the wind's howling and the inches of precipitation are on the rise.