Unbelievable. That's how the Mayor of Peoria, Arizona describes what he saw in Long Beach Tuesday. His city has adopted the storm-battered area, and though he says he thought he knew what to expect, his first-hand look at the devastation was a real eye-opener.
"It was something that just felt like it sucked the air out of me. It was unbelievable to look at," said John Keegan, Mayor of Peoria, Arizona.
Mayor Keegan was shocked when he went on a tour of the most tattered part of Long Beach, the area south of the railroad tracks.
"I'd seen video, I'd seen pictures, I'd had it described to me, but to actually see it, to walk around, even after four and a half months of clean up, it was just something unbelievable to experience," Mayor Keegan said.
Mayor Keegan says the decision to adopt the city of Long Beach was an easy one.
"We had had some firefighters who had been here as part of the immediate response teams," Mayor Keegan said. "We asked them what community needed help the most, which community can we do the most to have the greatest impact, and without even thinking they said it was Long Beach."
"The City of Peoria donated two backhoes as well as other equipment to help the City of Long Beach with its recovery efforts.
"It's equipment for public works," said Long Beach Mayor Billie Skellie. "We have some police cars also. It's the public works that I'm so focused on because it was some tractors and all, the backhoes that we really needed."
Peoria donated 25 vehicles in all, along with furniture, money and other supplies--all resources that are sure to help speed up the Friendly City's recovery. This act of generosity has strengthened the ties of friendship between two cities separated by thousands of miles.
And at Tuesday night at a Board of Aldermen's meeting, Mayor Keegan presented the City of Long Beach with a $500 check. The money was raised by a troop of Boy Scouts in Peoria, Arizona.