Fabio and Sons Help out in the Rockaways

Fabio Salvodelli went out to the Rockaways  today with his two young sons to bring supplies and help to people who suffered devastation to their homes from Hurricane Sandy.

Below is a letter from Fabio about what happened today.

When Fabio writes, “you” he is referring to the group that he is working with which was formed by Ray Alba to help folks recover from Hurricane Sandy, called the Hurricane Sandy Relief Volunteer Group.

They can be found on Facebook, or you can join the group through their Google Group, sandy-relief-team@googlegroups.com.

Those are my sons Hugh (in red) and James in blue (identical twins age 14).
We went to Aquarius Hardware (on Amsterdam) and bought stuff off  the list you sent: tarps, mops, cleaning fluid, work gloves, shovels.
Aquarius was great.  They gave us a discount, charged no taxes and could not have been more supportive.  We made our way down to the designated meeting area at 96th and Rockaway.
We found so many people in need of the basic supplies you suggested: many, particularly on the end of the street furthest away from the ocean, had left cleaning items in the basement, and they were gone.
At the “Veggie Island” location they had a clip board with addresses of homeowners in need of help, and we made out way down 92nd street (the destroyed road in the picture) and met “Bobby and Patty”.
Their house was a shambles, and others were there as well, just clearing out junk.   As it worked out the boys small size proved helpful.   The main basement had a small annex in front, that could only be accessed by the little window area you see in the picture.
The water had so filled the basement of the house waves were moving the contents from room to room.  With their smaller size the boys could get in and clean out the mess that resulted: proof anyone can help!
The homeowners were immensely, and tearfully, grateful for the help.  In the end all they “lost was stuff”, but the story of them riding out the storm in the attic as coffee, sitting on a table top, sloshed out of the cup as the house swayed was memorable.
Unforgettable was Patty’s fear for her daughter-in-law, whom  they had not heard from for hours, but she turned out to be OK. We all felt the relief in her voice as she passed on the good news.
Her husband blamed himself for failing to double cover a window, that broke.  One could only console him with the harsh reality that nothing could stop water like this: no-one was spared.
Most of the neighbors were really working hard to stabilize the aftermath, and happy to be given the tools to do so.
Perhaps most upsetting was single woman we met at the end, who still seemed to have a hard time processing her situation.  She looked blankly as we offered gloves and tarps and tape and shovels.
I asked if she had sealed off the house: “no”.  Do you have tarps “no”. Do you need gloves? “ummm, do I?…” Can we help you at your place?  She was clearly traumatized and in need of assistance beyond what we had.
One of her neighbors came and spoke to her by name.  We gave him all he thought they would need, and he (literally) took her under his arm and headed back to their houses.  There will be damage that outlasts the physical reconstruction.
Thank you for being the impetus that guided us to were we could offer some assistance: it made all the difference, and you can be proud of the effort you put into it.
If Minda [Aguhob] had not spoken up I would not have had any idea, beyond writing a check, about where to go to offer direct help.
Fabio [Salvodelli]
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