This week's New Yorker crosses four boroughs to lend a hand to Hurricane Sandy victims who still need help 10 months after the storm. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.
On many early weekend mornings, you'll find David Osterczy getting ready to head out.
Osterczy, who goes by the nickname Oz, lives in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Many of his friends are from the northern part of the city, too.
But ever since Hurricane Sandy, they've spent much of their free time going south, specifically to the south shore of Staten Island.
"It just became like a religious thing, like when people go to church every Sunday," Osterczy says. "We would just come out here every single weekend, and we would just gut houses and rebuild."
Oz has been helping people like Eddie Saman, who lives in New Dorp Beach. His bungalow was nearly destroyed when the storm came in, and Oz and his friends helped put it back together.
"I would still be in a shelter or somewhere else without them, but they helped," Saman says.
But 10 months since Sandy, not everyone is as fortunate. One house, blocks away from Eddie's, needs a complete renovation before its family can move back. That's where volunteers like Oz come in.
"There's five of us here today to do this whole house, and it's not enough. It's not enough," he says. "We still need a lot of volunteers to come out and do the work, to get families back in their homes. People don't understand that there are thousands of families here in New York City, middle-class families, that are not back in their homes 10 months later."
All of the hard work doesn't worry Oz and his friends. In fact, they welcome it.
"As much as it helps people, it really makes us feel so great and so good to go home and sleep and be exhausted and know that somebody is a little bit better off," says volunteer Lisa Albi.
"If I'm making an impact on the people here, it's impossible for me to imagine that I'm doing more good than they are for me," says volunteer Andy Chaleff.
So, for helping Staten Island rebuild, one house at a time, David Osterczy is the latest New Yorker of the Week.
For More Information
To get more information on volunteering in Staten Island, visit yellowboots.org.