The past week at Titus Mountain has been anything but ordinary; we’ve been the epicenter of probably the largest national news event of the North Country since the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid. As the Director of Marketing here, I watched my news feeds, press alerts, and phone lines burst with activity as local and national news outlets scurried to get the breaking news on escaped convicts Richard Matt and David Sweat.
Every day I saw notifications that Titus Mountain was being represented in the news: first law enforcement was setting up shop on our mountain, then Matt had been found near the area and finally we housed a press conference with Governor Cuomo confirming the capture of Sweat near the Canadian border. You can read about all of this in countless papers or flip to any news channel to see a myriad of reports about the man hunt.
I’m not a reporter and I don’t have much of an inside scoop on anything and I’m not writing this post about anything that you might have read already. Rather, I would like to take the time to say thank you to the community as a whole—from our local law enforcement to area businesses to citizens helping in whatever capacity they could.
It Takes a Village
The first day that we heard the search area was coming to northern Franklin County we knew our Upper Lodge was a no brainer for a command center and that Titus would help in any way that we could. However, the additional support that we received from community members and businesses was unparalleled.
The first night that law enforcement needed to be fed our Food & Beverage Manager was on the phone right away with some of our local vendors to see if there was anything they could do. Bimbo Bakeries (Freihoffer’s), Glazier’s, and Mo’s Pub & Grill assisted without a second of hesitation. We also received a huge donation of food from the Malone KFC that first night. Our Titus Mountain staff left the phones to me and went up to start feeding the droves of officers getting off their shifts and they stayed until everyone was fed, without ever questioning if they were on the clock or not. They volunteered their time for 6 days and as a mountain we couldn’t be more proud of our staff.
As soon as word got out that these men and women were going to be here for a while to ensure the safety of our community, donations started rolling in from pretty much everyone in the area. By Sunday evening, we had served over 1200 sandwiches, 200 pounds of fruit, hundreds of gallons of soups and goulash, innumerable baked goods, and over 500 gallons of coffee—and it couldn’t have been done without the support of our fellow community members and businesses donating their time and resources.
As a community we came together and without the help of everyone involved, things may have ended differently. It had been said by an officer that this might not have been possible without the logistic help that only Malone and our inhabitants could offer.
Our lodge proved a perfect grounds for a command post and the Titus Mountain radio towers and repeaters aided in keeping the myriad of agencies on the same page. Titus Mountain and Mo’s Pub & Grill staff volunteered hours on end to make field lunches for searchers to take with them and community members came in multiple times a day with new donations of food. Local businesses set up grab and go stations for law enforcement to refresh themselves. I witnessed everyday people helping however they could… from a smile and a thank you to our officers to random acts of kindness where people put Dunkin Donuts gift cards on the windshields of police cruisers.
Thank You All Around
Throughout the entire process, every single officer who we had the privilege of serving said thank you to us. Despite the high-stress of the situation and the countless hours that many of these officers had been on their feet and on the clock, they were still appreciative of everything that the greater Malone area was doing for them. At the conclusion of the search, several officers came through the kitchen and shook every volunteer’s hand and said “thank you.” I watched in awe as volunteers thanked officers and officers thanked volunteers as if they owed something more to each other.
On Sunday evening I went to the press conference, packed up my things, and started to drive home to put this chapter of Titus Prominence behind me only to come across another display of our phenomenal community. Not once or twice, but numerous times I saw people in their yards, in the rain, holding signs saying “Thank You” so that officers leaving the mountain could see just how appreciative we were. I drove through town where it seemed every single business had changed their message board to read something about our gratitude to all of the agencies who made Titus their home for the past week. I stopped at Mo’s for a bite to eat and witnessed rounds of drinks being purchased for off-duty officers. This morning I woke up to videos of citizens lining the streets thanking the officers.
It’s my time to say thanks.
On behalf of myself and Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, I want to say thank you to every single law enforcement officer who made Titus and Malone their home for the past week. Thank you for your tireless hours at checkpoints, thank you for the miles of swamps and bug-infested woods you hiked through, and thank you for the effort that you exerted to make sure that our community could feel safe at night. This thank you goes out to the DOCCS CERT team, NY State Police, VT State Police, Border Patrol, US Marshals, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, DEC Forest Rangers, EnCon Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, and Malone and Albany police departments.
On behalf of myself and Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, I want to say thank you to every business who helped make our law enforcement’s jobs just a little bit easier. Thank you for your thousands of dollars of donations, thank you for your countless hours of volunteering, and thank you for your willingness to help us help them. This thank you goes out to Dunkin Donuts, Amvets, the ARC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Burger King, Dicky’s BBQ, Little Caesar’s, KFC, Dairy Queen, Mo’s Pub & Grill, Bimbo Bakery, Glazier’s, Renzi, Coca Cola, Adirondack Growers, KC Salon & Company, local schools, Wal-Mart, and Grab & Go for CO’s.
Lastly, on behalf of myself and Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, I want to say thank you to every individual who opened your hearts and gave our law enforcement a little taste of home. Thank you for your endless donations, thank you for your countless hours of volunteering, and thank you for your positive thoughts and words of encouragement that I saw throughout the community. This thank you goes out to the Johnston, White, Smith, Lester, Cook, Johnson, McCarthy, Manley, Cositore, and Duquette families as well as Troop B wives.
In the commotion of everything going on at our Upper Lodge, we tried our hardest to keep track of everyone who helped in any way, large or small. However, if we forgot your name in our above thank you, we sincerely apologize. Please know that every single person and business’s help was greatly appreciated.
I want to take a few sentences from our first post we made when the news first broke. “We are 100% confident that the fine men and women of the law enforcement community will return these men to custody” and “We've always been proud of our Titus community and are humbled at how we can come together when needed.” Truer words have never been spoken.
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