Six months after a fire destroyed its public works building and everything inside, Lower Windsor Township is well on its way to recovery.
"We're back on our feet again," township manager Maureen Hartman said Friday.
This month, the township replaced the last of its five-vehicle fleet, which was consumed by the Aug. 1 blaze.
Damage was so extensive that investigators said they will never be able to determine what caused the blaze. Also lost in the fire were five personal vehicles that belonged to employees who had parked them alongside the Walnut Valley Court building before they left to work on roads.
"We lost screwdrivers. We lost gas cans. I mean, we had nothing," Hartman said.
Almost immediately, other municipalities - some as far away as Pittsburgh - began offering help.
But it was Lower Windsor's nearest neighbors who kept the township operating despite its losses. Chanceford, Hellam, and Windsor townships quickly offered their time, storage space, resources and vehicles, Hartman said.
"I think they drove them up here the day of our fire," she said. "We never asked. They just drove them here."
That help has been especially valuable during this winter of persistent snowfall.
And the governor's office has taken notice.
An award: On Tuesday, April 15, in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Corbett will present Lower Windsor Township and its three helpful neighbors with the Governor's Award for Local Government Excellence.
Hartman said news of the award was a surprise.
"I got choked up," she said. "To get this was really cool."
Hartman said Lower Windsor Township is working on plans to build a new public works building. The goal is to complete construction by the end of the year, she said.
Replacement of tools and equipment is an ongoing project.
"Little by little, we got our money, of course, from insurance," Hartman said. "As they see the need, when they go to get something and see it's not there, they go and replace it."
- Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.