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LI finds comfort and caring after Sandy

Water from Moriches Bay floods South Ocean Avenue

Water from Moriches Bay floods South Ocean Avenue and Inlet View Road in Center Moriches as superstorm Sandy approaches on Oct. 29, 2012. Credit: John Roca


ROSLYN HEIGHTS/Catering to storm refugees


On Thursday morning, caterer Gila Carlin, of Roslyn Heights, woke up and thought of the refrigerated food in her powerless home.

First, she thought of the loss.

Then, she thought, "I have to do something good with it."

So she made pastries, soup, gefilte fish, and for the last two days served her food, at no cost, in the cafeteria of Roslyn High School. The school has opened its cafeteria -- offering light, power, heat and food -- to hundreds of locals who have streamed in to sit at tables normally full of students, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend.

And while neighbors chatted, recharged their phones and laptops, and texted and played board and video games, Carlin, 52, served food alongside cafeteria worker Daryl Tiernan, 51, of Mineola. The custodians who staffed the room were a team, she said.

"Things cannot happen without a team," Carlin said. "If you don't have everybody together, it cannot happen."

Said Jaime Kraja, 45, one of the custodians, "Life is nothing without everybody."



LINDENHURST/Work crew pitches in


In the Village of Lindenhurst, a 15-man crew composed mainly of workers from a home renovation firm used their expertise and muscle to clear flood-ruined homes for free.

Nearly a week after Sandy brought the region to its knees, small and not-so-small acts of kindness from neighbors and strangers helped lift it.

More than a hundred Babylon Village residents mobilized at the American Legion on Grove Place to distribute food and clothes and help neighbors clear their flooded houses Saturday.

"People are still trying to get their head around what's happened to them," said Dominic Bencivenga, 50, a writer and president of the local school board who helped organize the effort. "A group of us got together to see what we could do."

The Nesconset-based NDA Construction crew, which usually remodels kitchens, arrived early yesterday morning with reciprocating saws and elbow grease to haul out sodden insulation, furniture and flooring from homes on Lindenhurst's Surf Street.

"We weathered the storm and we're caught up on our work schedule," said NDA owner Ed Rowland, 55. "So we said, let's do something."

Some people were skeptical at first -- "they already had ripoffs up and down the block," Rowland said -- but by midday the crew had cleaned six houses and was working on more.

Joseph Cortese, 48, an electrician who lived with his girlfriend and 3-year-old daughter in one of the houses there until it was flooded, was one of the first to enlist their help.

"They are a godsend," he said.



WANTAGH/Verizon team helps gas station


A gasoline station in Wantagh got a much-needed power boost Saturday morning after the Verizon Long Island Operations team provided the facility with a portable generator to start pumping more than 17,000 gallons of fuel.

The local Verizon team approached the owner of the American Petroleum station at 3287 Merrick Rd. in Wantagh Saturday morning and offered to power-up his station with a generator, Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said.

The move provided essential relief to Verizon truck drivers, first responders and motorists in the area looking to fill up their gas tanks, Bonomo said.

"It was an idea that a local manager had," said Bonomo, adding Verizon did the same thing in Westchester after the storm. "It's kind of good all around. He's open for the community, we are able to get gas and first responders are able to get gas."

Three station pumps were used for Verizon vehicles and other emergency responders, such as police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and nurses.

The three other pumps were available for the public starting at 9 a.m.

Nassau County police officers were on-site directing traffic and keeping the peace, Bonomo said.

"I saw the massive line," said Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who commended Verizon for working with the station owner to provide electricity to start pumping gas.

"They have done a very good job . . . I wish a lot more stations would open in Wantagh, Bellmore and Merrick because that would ease the lines."



SEAFORD/Furniture store offers comfort


In Seaford, Jared Behr, 28, owner of Behr's Furniture, opened his family's store to anyone who needed to charge a phone or get warm.

"We've got a 30,000-square-foot store and we've got power back," he said. "If the kids want to run around and play on the furniture, that's fine."



Manhattan/Looking to help Staten Island


Instead of heading to brunch or chilling out in her apartment in Manhattan's Financial District, Heather Mosher, 24, an Old Bethpage native, rounded up three friends and the group headed to Staten Island yesterday to help with recovery efforts.

"I feel a sense of guilt sitting home doing nothing," said Mosher, who evacuated Tuesday and had been living with a friend on Manhattan's Upper East Side until Saturday.

The group of friends, which included Julienne Brovenick, 23, of the East Village, Sam Cantor, 24, and Abby Newcom, 23, both of the Upper East Side, said they would help out any way they can. "I feel like Manhattan, for the most part, has been restored," said Cantor, a Florida native who has lived through eight hurricanes. "Staten Island is in need of help."

Newcom, a Kentucky native who had never been to Staten Island, expected a chaotic scene as residents begin to clean up and repair their homes.

"We don't have substantial amount of money to give, but we are able-body adults," said Newcom, an assistant producer for MTV2.

Before they boarded the Staten Island Ferry, Newcom and her friends wanted to buy supplies, such as water and diapers, but discovered that stores only accepted cash because credit card machines were not working.

Brovenick, who had relied on the generosity of friends, said living without electricity in the last four days has been miserable.

"I can't imagine what it's like to lose your house when I just lost power," said Brovenick, explaining why she wanted to volunteer.

After learning that electricity has been restored to her East Village apartment Friday evening, Brovenick took a bus home.

"We said, 'Let there be light,' " she said.


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