“Today was an experience unlike many others I have had throughout this trip.” Dominique Chanza, ASB Day 3
Today was an experience unlike many others I have had throughout this trip. Early morning, I arrived at the home that I would be working in which was still at the initial rebuilding process. As soon as I walked in I was immediately educated on who the homeowner was and his experience through Sandy. During the storm the water reached about 5ft in the one story home leaving the homeowner, Mr. Lonergan, with nothing left. Our supervisor shared that he was an engineer and that he had done some gutting to the home as much as he could until he found out that he had diabetes which was a major set back for him. At first I was a bit taken back because the first home that I worked on this week I thought about the many challenges it must be to live in the conditions they were experiencing. It was not until I saw the second home that the affects of the storm really kicked in. Now those major issues I saw in the first home became minor ones.
Throughout Mr. Lonergan’s home you could see the insulation in each room and it was our mission to put up sheet rock to help finish the rooms. With the help of two other ASB members we were able to put up the ceiling in one bedroom as well as the back wall. Despite the fact that it was extremely challenging it was especially rewarding to see that we were able to do this on our own even with the little experience we had throughout the week. It feels great to give back and to be able to help others that are not in a position to do all the work themselves successfully.
As cliché as it sounds it really does make you realize how lucky you are. I could not imagine being at home with everything in place and then taken away from me the next day. I commend those in the Rockaway community who have had the courage to start over. My experience with speaking to the editor of “The Wave”, a local paper in the Rockaway community, stood out especially when he was questioned by one of my peers “Why stay if it could happen again?” he responded Rockaway is our identity its who we are, it’s what makes us a close community in a big place.
Pace Student, Criminal Justice
Alternative Spring Break: Rebuild the Rockaways volunteer