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Long Beach couple to give travel trailer to Sandy-hit family

The trailer Susan and Arlette Clark-Bustamante plan to

The trailer Susan and Arlette Clark-Bustamante plan to give away to another family left homeless by superstorm Sandy is seen on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Long Beach. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Long Beach couple who recently moved back into their home more than four years after superstorm Sandy is giving away their emergency lodging — a 30-foot travel trailer — to a family that’s still homeless.

“We know what they are going through,” Susan M. Clark-Bustamante said.

This week, the couple posted on Facebook their plan to give the 2002 trailer, worth about $6,000, to another Sandy-scarred family — by picking the name out of a hat at noon Saturday.

People have until 10 a.m. that day to enter the drawing for the trailer, which sleeps six to eight, and features a queen bed and dining room that expands outward.

Clark-Bustamante, her wife, Arlette, and their 15-year-old son, Austin, initially intended to sell the trailer. But despite their own Sandy-related debt, their big hearts prevailed.

“Whatever we can do to help,” said Susan Clark-Bustamante, who runs a wellness center.

There are only two requirements: The lucky family must haul the trailer away, and when it’s no longer needed, they’re asked to pay it forward by offering it to others.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) praised the giveaway.

“The generosity of the Clark-Bustamante family embodies the spirit of Long Beach,” he said in a statement. “At the same time, it’s a stark reminder that, over four years after Sandy, there are still many victims who remain displaced or in serious debt.”

Last year, the couple bought the trailer from a woman whose Howard Beach home was destroyed by Sandy. The Clark-Bustamantes recently moved back into their home after living in the trailer for eight months while their home was raised. That was their second go-round of repairs.

Four days after Sandy, while the couple was coping with 5-foot-high floodwaters in their home, they found only one important document safe and dry — their marriage certificate, Clark-Bustamante said.

The couple, now celebrating their 21st year together, never had a religious ceremony, but Arlette Clark-Bustamante, a nurse, saw the certificate’s survival as a sign to belatedly hold the ceremony. Just when they were thinking about calling a friend who was ordained, that person drove up.

There was no hesitation. They immediately exchanged vows on the steps of Clark-Bustamante parents’ house in Long Beach. The stairs were about all that was left of her childhood home after Sandy was through with it.

“We ran out and did it right in front of the house, with our neighbors around,” Clark-Bustamante said.

When their finances improve, she said, “we’ll have a honeymoon.”

To register for the Long Beach couple’s travel trailer drawing, visit: https://www.facebook.com/susan.m.clark.90.

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