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At N. Babylon shelter, old veterans, new muscle
Carl Pannullo was in Ozone Park when the hurricane that rocked Long Island hit in 1938. He was in Elmont with his wife, Kathy, when Gloria came ashore in 1985. Today, the 80-year-old is at the Red Cross shelter set up at North Babylon High School.
“It was a lot different,” he said of dealing with Hurricane Gloria. “We weren’t close to the ocean, here we’re a mile away.”
The couple went to the shelter this morning after learning that their West Babylon senior living complex was under a mandatory evacuation. Along with about 20 others Saturday afternoon, the Pannullos are prepared for the long haul.
Volunteers at the shelter included a trio of merchant marines who were evacuated from Kings Point earlier this week, and some recreational football players, whose muscle and know-how were put to good use. The two groups carried in and assembled more than 40 cots and helped unload about 20 cases of water and several cases of fruit cups, cookies and other snacks.
“That was amazing actually,” said shelter manager Venus Bhasin, a volunteer of the Red Cross’ Suffolk chapter, who received his assignment just this morning. “And now we have [merchant] marines... and they all came from different states.”
Kathy Pannullo said she and Carl haven’t taken their children up on several offers to stay with them off of Long Island because she really isn’t scared.
“I’ve been through worse than a monster hurricane. England during World War II, that could prepare you for anything,” she said. “It’s part of life. Things come, things go.”