Monday, December 22, 2014

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NYers Of The Week: Volunteers Continue Their Recovery Work In Sandy's Aftermath

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Though the lights are back on for most and some of the debris is cleared away, the determination of many volunteers is as strong as ever. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

From a simple gesture, to moving piles of rotted furniture, volunteers have come to the rescue at Beach 87th Street in Queens.

They've turned the Rockaway Surf Club into a base for supplies, a place where local residents can find answers.

"We're moving sand, mud, soaking wet furniture that's been destroyed," said Brandon d'Leo, the founder of Lava Girl Surf. "We're also sending out large groups of people to look for seniors in the neighboring buildings."

In the past, they've come for fun. Now, they come to fulfill a responsibility.

"I surf here," said surfer Martina Melendez. "This is also my community and to see to see how it was devastated is heartbreaking."

On Staten Island, the belongings that once made one house a home instead sat ruined. Students from the Friends Seminary in Manhattan showed up to help. For the Ettell family, in their time of need, it made a difference.

"I don't usually get a lot of help from people in life," said Joe Ettell. "It's nice to see everybody finally coming together and random strangers helping me out."

A day of service brought out many volunteers this week. New Yorkers from different walks of life, with a unified message.

"No matter how bad things are, you can always make the best out of the situation," said volunteer John Lanzi.

Or, at least you can try. In Breezy Point, volunteers told us more help is needed.

"It's like a war zone," said volunteer Shy Lampson. "It's like living in a horror film. It's like nothing I've ever seen before."

But they battled on, distributing food and water out of the damaged Rockaway Fire Department. In droves, volunteers on this peninsula proved the desire to rebuild will overcome any destruction.

"When people need help and you're able-bodied and you have the chance to do something about it, you take that chance," said volunteer Ricardo Aguirre.

So, for continuing to lend a hand to their neighbors in need, these volunteers, and the hundreds just like them, are our New Yorkers of the Week.

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