Words cannot express how truly grateful we are for your
support. Two and a half months have
passed since we lost our home to Hurricane Sandy on Rockaway Beach, Queens,
NY. We were fortunate enough to find
residency here in Brooklyn, a furnished sublet close to my husbands’
employment, although our rent has almost doubled in price since we have
evacuated, which has been a hardship financially.
We were located
on Beach 102nd street, on the ground floor in a two bedroom
apartment. 12-14 feet of water came
rushing down our street with 200 feet chunks of boardwalk debris and dozens of
floating automobiles. The ocean water
met the bay water, and unfortunately, the water rushed in our apartment with
all our possessions (except our instruments, including our piano which we moved
out the day before) inside. Luckily, we
evacuated the night before to Brooklyn, where restaurant owner and friend,
Andrew Wandzilak took my family of four in during the storm.
It really didn’t
sink in until we started seeing the news reports the day after the storm. See, we were comfortable with heat, comfort,
and electricity in Brooklyn. We watched
our only reference point during the storm, a lone tree swinging violently on
the sidewalk. The day after, I recollect hearing CNN news
announce that all bridges to Rockaway peninsula were closed and there was no
entering. My husband and our friend, Andrew
entered the peninsula after the second day.
Needless to say, report from them
was bleak. Andrew called it a “war-zone”
and my husband didn’t say much at all, and if you know my husband, Jarad , he
is an outspoken character. I didn’t go
in until the third day after the storm.
When we crossed the Marine Parkway Bridge to Riis Park, I couldn’t even
believe what I saw. This was my first
true experience dealing with “trauma.”
My trauma came like so many others who lost so much after this storm; it
came with tears, and many of them.
Four days later,
we called every rental truck company in 4 states requesting for a rental so we
could remove what we could from our apartment.
We had no luck reserving a vehicle of any kind. If it were not for our friends, we would have
lost EVERYTHING. Another restaurant
owner, Wade Hoegardot, of Prospect Park Beer Works donated his beer truck along
with himself to help us salvage what we could from our home. Luckily, we were able to save some
things. I am truly thankful to the crew
of selfless individuals who came to our aid.
I had a rough go of throwing out all of my children’s furniture, our
couches, bed mattresses, books, pictures, and toys to the curb. It was really painful, but I gained a lot of
perspective through all of this. I have
renewed faith in the human spirit. You
see, I love people more than I thought I ever could. I know that if tables were turned, I would do
the same for others, especially having experienced this myself.
And that is what we
started doing: helping.
Andrew, who took us in during the storm saw the devastation and just started
He opened his restaurant
earlier on November 1st
2012 and set up a soup kitchen with
volunteers ready to cook and distribute hot food outside of his Park Slope
restaurant, Two Boots of Brooklyn.
you, the donations didn’t even come yet!
Andrew Wandzilak is a catalyst for us all who want to live a fulfilling
life, a true person, not looking for reward or merit, just a man who wanted to
You know the statement, “If
you lead, people will follow;” Andrew set the tone in this neighborhood and the
outpouring of donations flowed like water. We delivered fresh hot food and
supplies to the heaviest hit area in all the five boroughs: Staten Island,
Rockaways, Brooklyn, and the displaced folks in hotels in Manhattan.
now, after two and a half months after Sandy, he is still at it.
This organization is called, Hurricane Sandy
Lastly, I have to
commend the Irish community, organizations, and the groves of musicians who
came to the aid of so many hit by this wretched storm. Personally, I would like to thank the
Brothers of Erin, based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, The Boulder Irish Session,
The New York Irish Center, Jami Lunde, The Chiff and Fipple Irish Music Forum,
Bernard Keilty, Mike Enright, Maureen Donachie, Cathy Hornberger, Paul
Finnegan, The New York Post, The Aisling Center, The Irish Voice, John Whelan, and many more who continue to
help my family during this difficult time.
Some of you helped us financially,
while others offered a helping hand, or gave us encouraging words. We are forever grateful to you all. Bless you.