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Luau raises funds for Amityville fire victim, Sandy recovery
Wearing a Hawaiian shirt and parrot-shaped earrings, Corinne “Corky” Amico sipped on a blue cocktail Sunday at Amityville Beach during the Amityville Kiwanis Club’s annual Summer Luau. The drink -- a mixture of lemonade, vodka and Blue Curacao liqueur -- was specially made for the event and given the name, “The Sandy Stomper.”
“We got completely wiped out by Sandy,” said Amico, 53, as she celebrated overcoming the storm that flooded her Amityville home with 2 feet of water.
More than 100 people turned out for the Amityville Kiwanis Club’s luau, which featured music, food, games and raffle prizes, including a “hurricane survival kit.” It included a portable generator, lanterns, a Red Cross blanket and a case of Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs.
“We’re all planning for the next one,” joked Amico, as she held up a glass that had the words “I Stomped Sandy” printed on the side.
Amico was among the 16 members of the Amityville Kiwanis Club whose homes sustained flooding during Sandy, according to the club’s president, Linda Kay.
“This whole area was under water,” said Kay, 58, of Amityville.
The Oct. 29 storm not only wreaked havoc to homes in the village, but the Amityville Beach Complex, which houses sports fields, playgrounds and picnic pavilions, also took a hit.
“It was a mess,” said Hal Schad, 71, of Amityville, another one of the club’s past presidents. “By the beach, everything was really devastated.”
To help restore the park to its former glory, the Kiwanis Club will donate a portion of the proceeds raised at Sunday’s event to refurbishing its two pavilions and use any additional funds left over to repair the building on the beach that houses a snack stand. The Kiwanis constructed both of the wooden picnic pavilions. Although the structures were still standing after Sandy, the roofs need to be repaired, Kay said.
“This thing’s gonna fall down. I gotta get out of here,” joked retired contractor Peter Pappas, 95, as he sat underneath the pavilion he built nearly 35 years ago with his fellow Kiwanis members, including Charlie Woodman, who was seated next to him.
“I just handed him the nails,” Woodman, 89, added.
Both Pappas and Woodman have been members of the Amityville Kiwanis Club since the group was founded in 1949.
“When I came into the club, I thought it was just a social group, but we did so much good,” Woodman said.
In a typical year, the club doles out college scholarships, sends kids to Kamp Kiwanis in upstate Tarberg, and mentors local students. They also contribute to several other community projects and charities. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, they gave away several thousands of dollars worth of gift cards to local families who were impacted, Kay explained.
Typically, the summer luau brings in between $4,000 and $6,000, Kay said. She said the money raised through dinner ticket sales, as well the “hurricane kit,” will go toward refurbishing the beach. However, the club will donate all the proceeds from Sunday’s 50/50 raffle exclusively to Nancy Walters, an Amityville woman whose home was destroyed earlier this month when it caught fire.
“Wherever we’re needed, that’s where we go,” said Rich Anderson, the Amityville Kiwanis Club’s president-elect.
Although Amityville has not fully recovered from Sandy, Schad said he was confident that by next summer, the area would be 100 percent restored.
“Amityville people are resilient,” he said. “You lick your wounds and you move forward.”