Editorial: Stepping up to Help a Neighbor

Berggren showing photos of the materials he has removed from the beaver dam. (Credit: CT Examiner/Werth)


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Seven months ago we launched CT Examiner with a story by Julia Werth reporting on extensive flooding in the soon-to-be-purchased McCulloch property.

At the time there was some push back, that the beavers were beside the point, and a fact of nature — and they were right. Beavers were beside the point, as Julia Werth followed up a few days later bringing public attention to the plight of Old Lyme resident Dave Berggren.

The more important story was that Berggern, 81 years old at the time, was on the verge of losing his home, and had already lost basic necessities of washing and sanitation to the flooding. We also learned that Berggern, at some risk to his personal safety, was paddling out nearly every day to break up the dam that was causing the flooding.

In a letter to CT Examiner a few days later, an out-of-town friend of Berggern, wrote that Berggern had asked town officials, including the First Selectman, for help two years earlier, but that little had come of it.

Reached by telephone on Tuesday, Berggern explained that, “I can’t do laundry anymore and I take sponge baths instead of a shower.”

With the flooding worsening since July, Berggern said that he hoped that the newly-elected local government would be more helpful.

The good news is that First Selectman Tim Griswold met with members of the Open Space Commission on Friday and in voiced the need for a solution sooner rather than later.

“I would prefer not to wait another month to get on some solid ground for these residents,” said Griswold.

And the plight of Berggern was raised again at the Monday night Board of Selectmen meeting.

It’s Christmas. This is our neighbor. He’s not young. And while I applaud his spirit of self-reliance, clearly he’s in need of our help.