Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Cleanup

During Hurricane Sandy I was in Utah.  I tried my hardest to get back before the storm but had no luck getting back to New York for at least 3 days after it hit.  Watching a storm hit your home on the news when you are thousands of miles away is not super fun, I can tell you that.  What's worse is flying back into JFK a few days after a hurricane and seeing the devastation from the air.  Boats were in piles and it took me 4 hours to get home from the airport.  

I had definitely heard of the yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests but had never actually worn one.  The day that I got back to New York I received an email from the stake here asking us to help serve the areas that were so badly affected by the hurricane.  

To get to the Rockaways we had to take the D train all the way to 86th St. in Brooklyn, then get on a chartered school bus of yesteryear and take that for about 30 minutes to get to Rockaway.  Once we were there they gave us gloves, face masks, and a yellow vest (and a few tools).  We were divided up into groups and then given an assignment and off we went.  I did this 5 times over the month-long period that we were asked to serve.  Some of these photos are not mine but if they are not mine they were taken while I was standing there.  

Checkpoint at the Middle School

Two weeks after the hurricane hit

Megan is doing such a good job at showing us how tall those pile of sand are.

Stacie, me, Micah

We emptied this family's entire basement - everything was caked in mud.  We even found books in the rafters that had floated to the ceiling.  

Jill, Alicia, and Amber came up from DC for a weekend and came out to help gut a family's living room and kitchen.

Members of my ward.

Our last day of service with Ellen. Lost her brother in 911, newly divorced, and had just refinished the first floor of her home earlier this year.  We spent the entire day just ripping up the floorboards in her kitchen.

Me and Megan freezing to death in Far Rockaway

Scalped doll
Serving these people was such a great experience.  I heard countless stories of neighbors helping each other and saving each others lives.  Calls to serve aren't always at convenient times but I think almost daily about the ways that I was blessed for making the time to go and help people who needed it.  On a few occasions we were able to pray with the families that we helped and it was always a moving experience to pray for them to have hope in their lives despite their circumstances.  The days were long but so so worth it.

And in case you haven't seen it, watch this video.  Amazing.

Also, for 2 of the days that I could have been helping, I watched this guy so that his parents could go together.  And now he is referred to as my boyfriend, Hudson.  I adore that child.

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