Learn-A-Trade Effort Helps Offset Sandy Recovery Needs
A non-profit formed after the September 11th attacks is desperately seeking volunteers to help improve the lives of Hurricane Sandy victims. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Ali Davis and David Osario are giving their time to help rebuild homes gutted by Hurricane Sandy, but they're not exactly volunteering.
They're carpenter's apprentices.
Two years in they have to keep taking classes to become journeymen.
"That's what we're doing, drywalling their house instead of doing it in school," Osario said.
Their real-life experience could also save the life of Stephen DeWitt.
The Vietnam veteran lost the first floor of his Brooklyn home to Hurricane Sandy.
"Possessions they went out with the tide," DeWitt said.
Sleeping upstairs now and on a fixed income he says recovery seemed impossible, hopeless.
"I had thoughts of not getting on the bus getting under it. I sunk so low depression," recalled DeWitt. "Now after the rains come the the rainbow with the these beautiful people."
The workers are first responders and building trade members with Heart 9/11. The non-profit aims to use what members learned from responding to the September 11th attacks on other disasters, like Haiti's earthquake and New Orleans' Hurricane Katrina.
Now it focuses on roughly half a dozen homes like one in Gerritsen Beach that was slammed by Sandy.
"Our goal is to fix with the the least amount of funding that we can fix the most housing," said Tom Murphy of Heart 9/11.
To accomplish the task at hand they need volunteers like carpenter James McCloud.
"Not working right now they can use all the help they can get," McCloud said.
Skilled laborers are great, but believe it or not they say they have a greater need for the unskilled.
"We can use anybody," McCloud noted.
"We need the average jane and joe to help us deliver the Sheetrock, help carry the boards," Murphy added. "There's been plenty of people that have shown up and haven't known anything and left knowing something."
"I'm gonna make it. I have a whole beautiful attitude," DeWitt said.