Mayor Matthew Ryan: Leading through natural disasters, tragedies

By Jillian Marshall

December 27, 2013 Updated Dec 27, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Two devastating floods, a recession and a mass shooting that made national headlines shaped Binghamton Mayor Matthew Ryan's two terms in office.

In the first year Ryan took the mayor's chair, he faced a shrinking reserve fund and the first in a series of massive storms.

In June 2006, a flood destroyed homes and businesses across Twin Tiers. The city of Binghamton was among the hardest hit.

Near the end of Ryan's first term, on a quiet spring day shots rang out downtown.

A gunman killed thirteen people and himself at the American Civic Association. On April 3, 2009, a community -- and it's elected leader -- changed forever.

"The experience was the worst part of my mayorship," Ryan said. "I can't imagine what it was like, obviously, for the people who actually had lost loved ones."

Ryan said he worked with other community leaders to move the city through the massacre and heal its scars.

Just two years later, another wave of water hit the city. The flood of 2011 rose around downtown, inundating city streets and leaving hundreds of homes damaged and thousands homeless for days.

Despite the challenges his administration faced, Ryan also recalls brighter times. Part two of Mayor Matt Ryan's series airs Friday on Action News at 6.