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Pocono staff aid flood victims

July 01, 2006

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Ten Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs\'s employees volunteered their services this past Wednesday and helped prepare about 800 meals for Wyoming Valley. Penn. residents who had to evacuate when their homes were threatened by the swollen waters of the Susquehanna River.
The threat of a major flood in Wyoming Valley and vicinity forced the mandatory evacuation of 200,000 residents on Wednesday, which sent hundreds of them to shelters in Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding communities.

Upon hearing volunteers were needed to assist the Salvation Army in preparing meals for those forced to leave their homes, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs asked for volunteers who were not affected by the evacuation order.

Answering the call were Robert “Bobby” Soper, president and chief executive officer of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs; Jim Wise, vice president of marketing; Rebecca Norton, group party coordinator; Mike Bean, vice president of administration; Kawel LauBach, director of human resources; Lynn Segars, director of customer service, and her husband, Vince Esposito; Mindy Weiss, Maria Zangardi, Ann Crawford, vendor licensing specialist, and Leslie Martin, employee communication and event specialist.

“This is the type of volunteerism that reflects what our organization is all about,” Soper said.

A large tent also was erected in the parking lot located to the rear of the racetrack, which served as a receiving center for displaced pets -- since the latter were not allowed at the shelters.

Several of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs employees were among those who had to evacuate their residences while others faced the task of cleaning flooded basements outside the flood zone.

A greater number of the evacuees were allowed back into their homes on Thursday, after the flood threat eased and Wilkes-Barre City and other areas were spared major damage from flood waters.

Ironically, it was in June 1972 when a flood, caused by Hurricane Agnes, devastated Wyoming Valley and vicinity. At the time it was this country’s largest natural disaster.

Hundreds of thousands were left homeless by those floodwaters, and Pocono Downs served as one of the evacuation centers for the flood victims. Helicopters and military personnel were commonplace at the racetrack, and hundreds found shelter at Pocono Downs.
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