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Long Island Harvey wants to help victims of namesake storm

Long Beach resident Harvey Weisenberg, who donated money

Long Beach resident Harvey Weisenberg, who donated money to help Hurricane Harvey victims, above with his son Ricky, 59, and daughter Vicki at Ricky's care facility in Plainview. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

To at least partly reclaim his first name — Harvey — from its association with Houston’s savage hurricane, a former Long Beach assemblyman is giving $10,000 to a center there for the developmentally disabled.

“I said, ‘I want to make a donation to Houston. My name is Harvey’ ” said Harvey Weisenberg, a Democrat, who represented Long Beach from 1989 to 2014. “This Harvey is trying to make it better.”

Weisenberg said his compassion springs from his experiences raising a developmentally disabled son, as well as a desire to help those in Houston still reeling from the storm and the damage left in its wake.

“Life is hard enough for those families and those people . . .” he said, referring to the victims of the Aug. 25 hurricane that dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston and forced nearly 780,000 from their homes.

“What I wanted to do was help these people get back up on their feet.”

He and his late wife, Ellen, had set up a charity named for the couple to aid special-needs families. After Harvey struck, Weisenberg asked his bank to help locate a place like those his foundation supports.

The Bethpage Federal Credit Union came through.

The credit union, which had a fundraising drive under way for Houston, contacted the United Way of Long Island, whose Houston counterpart recommended The Center. The facility provides a wide range of services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled, according to its website.

“We just did the legwork,” said Linda Armyn, senior vice president at the credit union.

The hurricane flooded some buildings at The Center, according to its website. Weisenberg’s check will be sent directly to the facility — and matched by a couple from the Houston area, Armyn said.

Further, employees and members of the credit union donated $4,566 to the United Way of Greater Houston, which the credit union rounded up to $5,000. The credit union also is contributing $15,000, she said.

“We always do this for natural disasters,” Armyn said. “We try to get our members to donate money, and then we match the funds.”

Additionally, the credit union, which gave $10,000 to The National Credit Union Foundation after Hurricane Irma, plans to assist victims of other recent hurricanes.

“Now we’re trying to understand what’s happening in Puerto Rico and Florida, to understand what their needs are and where we should focus our efforts,” Armyn said.

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