Stories from Mercury One’s Day of Hope

by Sara J.

Over the weekend, Mercury One partnered with the nonprofit organizations ‘Somebody Cares’ and ‘Crisis Relief International’ to provide relief to those in need following Hurricane Sandy. Yesterday, the largest event took place, as well over 200 hundred members of the Lindenhurst, NY community joined volunteers to enjoy a hot meal, pray, and stock up on items they’re desperately in need of.

Not knowing what to expect, I, along with a few of my Mercury co-workers, made the trek out to Linderhurst on Sunday morning to help. As we got closer and closer to the impacted community, much of Sandy’s toll was easy to see: massive trees were missing half of their branches, there were signs at the end of each street warning looters of their inevitable fate, tarps covered roofs and broken windows were boarded…But, as we heard stories from the residents of the neighborhood, we began to realize that the damage went much deeper than what we could see.

The Day of Hope took place in a big field between rows of houses that reminded me of a small beach community. After setting up for The Day of Hope, Kelly (a colleague from Mercury) and I took a walk to the shoreline that was just a couple hundred yards in front of the park. The closer we got, the more evident the storm damage was: piles of wood, gutters, roofing, even a sink that had been ripped out of a home, were in piles along the side of the road.

More after the jump

As we came across residents, the stories we heard were shocking. One man, who lived further up the street, told us about how he and his family had stayed during the storm. He described how fast the water flooded their home and how his fourteen-year-old son had gotten his wife and dog out of the house to safety. Pointing to Kelly, who is maybe 5’5″, he said, “my wife’s about your size, the water was up past her check, but my son was able to hold on to her and our dog and get out of there.” He chuckled, mostly to hold back tears, and looked over at an empty lot.

“Every time I start to feel bad for myself, I remember that there used to be two homes there,” he told us before heading back down the street to his home.

I noticed how deserted the town seemed. Aside from the Day of Hope volunteers, there were hardly any cars driving by or residents outside. It was as if the storm had taken place just last week, but the sad truth is, it’s been close to a month since the residents of Lindenhurst have even had electricity.

Everyone we met at the Day of Hope had a story of their own, stories no one is telling you on the news. Stories of looters, denied FEMA claims, and terrifying storm experiences.

One woman explained to us that looters were coming up to the shore on Jet Skis and breaking into homes — something I had never heard of in my life. Many of the men we spoke to had been sleeping in their garages with a shotgun and a dog to protect what was left from thieves.

Living just thirty miles away in Manhattan, it was hard to wrap my head around what was happening so close by, and even more frustrating to know how few people are aware that this is happening while we carry on like Sandy never happened.

Kenton, another Mercury colleague, helped an older veteran with bad knees. He couldn’t stand in the line where we were handing out food and supplies, so Kenton walked along with him, helping him collect the items that he needed. While they walked, he shared with Kenton that earlier this year he had lost his wife and soon after, contemplated suicide. His son and his daughter were what kept him going. During the hurricane, his house was under seven feet of water, and now his son and his grandson are staying with him. He told Kenton, “well I suppose I’m gonna have to learn how to cook now, you know my wife always did the cooking.” As they were loading the supplies into his car, he was choked up that this many volunteers came to help out, was grateful for the hope they had given the neighborhood.

Despite the heartbreaking stories we heard throughout the day, the stories of charity and love are the ones that really stood out.

Two volunteers, Brian and Tommy, who heard about what Mercury One and the partnering organizations were doing this weekend, went to Costco and bought around $37,000 worth of supplies on their own dime. They dropped off a box truck loaded with paper towels, cereal, diapers and granola bars first. Then, when they realized we were short on cleaning supplies, they went to Lowes and Costco again, and came back with pallets of mold cleaners, bleach, cleaning gloves, hand warmers, and thick socks. These were the same men who brought supplies to help Mercury One’s efforts in Coney Island last month.

It was because of the volunteers who showed up to help and people like Brian and Tommy, that we were able to give the residents of Lindenhurst a little hope.

For those of us who aren’t from this area, it’s easy to think that the people hit by Hurricane Sandy have a place to go and get the help they need. Being from Georgia, I grew up in an area where there is a mega church in every town — if a disaster hit, they were first on the seen. There would be a place to sleep, get a warm mean, shower and find support. That infrastructure isn’t strong in this area, and it makes a world of difference. But, as people made their the line of supplies yesterday and enjoyed a warm meal, you could see the look in their eyes begin to shift, even if it was just a little bit. So many, who came through the park gate looking exhausted, on edge, and distraught, now had a small light of hope in their eyes.

They would look at our vests and ask, “Mercury One? Is that who is helping us today? Who is that?” As I would tell them, they almost all had the same reaction: “Thank you for helping us and not forgetting about us.”

All of the volunteers who came out to help yesterday were some of the nicest, most generous people who I have ever met. There were volunteers from Chicago, Texas, and more from right here in Manhattan. Despite the exhaustion, the tears, and the trials the people we met yesterday were experiencing, it’s safe to say we brought them a light of hope.

I’m proud to work for one of, if not the only, media company with a charity.

This community and those surrounding it have a long way to go to get back on their feet, you can help by donating to Mercury One’s disaster relief fund HERE.

 

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  • Anonymous

    wow, really awesome. my house was flooded and the only volunteers i’ve seen have been church-based,which is great, and the red cross drives down the street with a megaphone,totally unintelligible,and disappears. going forward, i will think twice about sending a check to red cross,but will support the churches.

  • Anonymous

    Global Aid Partnership just kicked off “Kids Against Hunger” @ our church, (Glorious Way Church, Houston, Texas: http://www.gwc.cc) with other invited people all coming to pack over 12,000 tasty, vitamin packed meals for Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey and Long Island and others! We have been praying for the victims too! Thank you for all you do, Glenn!

  • Anonymous

    Sandy storm victims need realize the process:  1.  Contact an electrician that will pull a permit to get the electricity turned on at their residence – if possible.
    2.  Get appropriate permits from the city to start rebuilding  3.  Start your own tear out – call a contractor to restore your structure  4.  Contact Insurance Co. 5.  Remember if your home is mortgaged then you will have to prove that the work is being done.  The insurance check will be made out to you and your mortgage company.  So you will have to send to the mortgatge co. for their signature and they will have a person come out that authorizes that the work has been done. 

    PLEASE DON’T JUST SIT THEIR AND DO NOTHING – OBAMA AND OUR GOVERNMENT COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LIVES OR WHAT DEVESTATION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH!  DON’T BE AN OBAMA DUMMY!

    IT’S A TRUE NIGHTMARE – WAKE UP – REALIZE IT – AND GET ON WITH IT – PLEASE DO NOT WAIT ON THE GOVERNMENT!

  • Anonymous

    As many had speculated, once Obama got his mug captured with Christie and got his endorsement, all the promises of helping Sandy’s victims have gone out the window. Another bunch of empty promises and lies as soon as his re-election was complete. Now, as usual, Obummer is visiting foreign nations and kissing ass to boot. I bet all those who voted for him are real glad they did so.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X2NAPSXIXUJPOPPGU6CXVFQFLA Snorri Sturluson

    What Hurricane Sandy specifically demonstrated was the fact that people, especially neighbors, have to help and long-term assist each other in a disaster of any degree. The governments, Federal, State and Local, are neither prepared nor equipted for a rapid response to a disaster like Sandy. It takes an extraordinarly dynamic and forceful politician(s) and bureaucrat(s) to think and act “outside of the box”. For the future, those so dramatically ruined by Hurricane Sandy might consider relocating away from the ocean, bay and flood plains. It may be easier for such folks in NY and NJ to recoup their lives by relocating into other physically safer areas as compared to rebuilding.

  • Anonymous

    why is it NOT being pointed out that a lot of electrical/power workers were sent back home and NOT allowed to help because they were not UNION members, people had to suffer and did some die? just to keep the unions happy, one group drove from southern Alabama for 20 hours to be mistreated and sent home,,, how long and how much will the people put up with,,, oh till THEY are the one dying…..

  • Jesustheonlyway

    Unfortunately the New Gangland O-Bama-Nation only supports Unions…NOT Willing Workers.  Idiocy like this is just a foretaste of what is to come out of this destructive killing machine.

  • Anonymous

    I see alot of anti Obama comments here.What exactly are any Republicans doing? The GOP does not reach out to minorities or women and care as little as Obama and the Dems doif not even less. It’s about the photo Ops and political strategy and that’s it and everyone knows this.More disturbing is that they care even less about reaching out to conservatives and thier own base.Glen Beck has stated this saying many times “show me your friends and I will show you your future”. Conservatives have no future as Republicans.We will never get minorities women,or the poor to consider our principles and values as long as we tie them to the GO.Rush Limbaugh states his show as the “Center for advanced conseritive studies”yet how do conservatives ever advance as Republicans?.Why let the Bill Kristols or Steve Schmits speak for us and create false narratives to mislead and misdirect to only end up back in the same places ?They say it takes 50% plus one so we need to be patient and stay with them.The truth is in the American Revolution only one third wanted independence.Many minorities can be taken from the progressives if they saw any valid alternative. I say we did alot of good just look and the Tea party and Mercury One projects.We can take care of our own we do not need them.We have 2 years before mid terms and we should encourage all conservatives registered as Republicans to re register as non affiliates.Through the tea parties and grass roots we should recruit and be up front that we will not support the GOP and longer and Senators and Congressman who are conservatives either defect join the movement or plan on opposition and no support from us.At least we go down as honest men with principles as opposed to fooled chumps in bed with lying Rino Progressives.

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    Dear Glenn,This article is really a must read one. speaks about the way Hamas teaches children to become suicide bombers and terrorists in general.Share this!

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=292763

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