Through the years Nor’easters, tropical storms, and hurricanes have crashed the Long Island shoreline leaving media images of trees uprooted, homes flooded, and beach coasts eroded. I can remember Gloria, Bob and Irene; each storm affecting a targeted area of the island. We watched the local news teams capture each event in sobering detail from the safety of our own home, offering prayers and feeling blessed that we were not affected.
When Super Storm Sandy struck overnight on October 29, 2012, we watched the images on television again, amazed at the destruction that was left in Sandy’s path. The magnitude of Sandy’s reach was unprecedented. The story was the same across the 118 miles of the south shore: homes were completely destroyed, under water, and uninhabitable. The footage captured the devastation of stunned homeowners, overwhelmed at the prospect of where to begin the cleanup.
In this era of Social Media you knew the who, the what, and the where of the storm’s effects in real time. Media images became reality as Facebook provided information regarding family, friends, classmates, teammates, and community members. Their loss and suffering was ours and we were able to plug in and offer help immediately. Online posts became our road map of where to help next. Food drives, clothing drives, organized cleanup crews, locations for showers, laundry facilities, available housing, and so much more was posted non-stop. My family and many others stood alongside and said, “start here” to storm victims.
People came together to help each other. Whether it was to rip out sheet rock or serve a hot meal, we were there to help rebuild not only homes, but our community as well. Our lives included these friends, classmates, teammates, and community members and we needed to help re-build their lives.
I joined the consulting firm HORNE to continue the work of rebuilding my community—my Long Island. To be able to personally serve others who were once only images on the television screen and be part of their recovery is one of the most rewarding experiences. I watch Louisiana right now and know their reality. At HORNE, our hearts go out to those that are standing in the trenches, where we’ve been many times.
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