One candidate running for the Portsmouth Town Council will miss next week's General Election — and opportunities to campaign days before — in order to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Robert "Bob" Church, a Democratic candidate for the Portsmouth Town Council, was activated as a FEMA responder on Tuesday following Hurricane Sandy. He was called in to respond with the National Disaster Medical System.
"We were originally headed for New Jersey, but diverted to New York for now," Church wrote in e-mail. His cell phone service is "spotty" in New York City, he said.
"Have spent a day in Queens before being sent to Brooklyn. We are assisting local assets with shelters and shelter needs medical," he wrote.
Church, who retired as deputy fire chief for the Portsmouth Fire Department, says the deployment could last until Nov. 10 or later, leaving him out of state for the upcoming General Election.
"I knew this deployment would mean missing the elections, but I feel the need to help those who have been so seriously effected a priority," Church wrote.
This is not Church's first time being called to a national disaster — or even a hurricane.
Church, a member of RI-1 DMAT, a disaster team, responded to the World Trade Center following the 9/11 attacks. He helped victims of 9/11 and stayed in New York City through Sept. 26, 2011.
He was called again years later after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Church, along with his team, responded to the New Orleans Super-dome from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11, 2005.