The heroes of Sandy

Occupy’s ‘wedding registry’ floods church with supplies
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Ordinary people demonstrate time and again the extraordinary strength and power of unity when calamity strikes.

Marlene Sagiv-Bojmal:
Rebuilt fire house and families
The Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corp. rescue worker helped coordinate a collection drive for the ’cane-wracked Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department station house. Sagiv-Bojmal and fellow crew members transported the donations — including clothes, blankets, canned goods, water, and other emergency supplies — to families directly hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The storm of the century was another opportunity for altruists of all stripes to commandeer the spirit needed to aid and support devastated communities in Brooklyn and Queens.

Metin Turan:
Nourished his neighbors
Turan, owner of Anatolian Gyro in storm-scarred Sheepshead Bay, went on a mission to help feed hungry Gerritsen Beach residents after watching disturbing footage of the devastation in the waterfront community. Turan, who suffered around $25,000 in property damages to his own restaurant, trucked gallons of hot lentil and chicken soup and fresh bread “to give something back” to the people, many of whom were loyal customers.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Some of them risked their own lives to rescue trapped people and animals. Others helped to rebuild disaster zones and mobilize collection drives. Yet, all of them exemplified what it means to be a good citizen.

Alberto Rodriguez:
Coney Island’s handyman
The display builder from Je T’aime Flower Studio in Coney Island had greatness thrust upon him when he swiftly assembled a volunteer crew of furniture movers, demolition workers, family, and area residents to mop up water-damaged businesses in the People’s Playground. Rodriguez and his eight-man crew removed saturated mattresses and water-stained shelves from Lago, as well as Home Deco, and gutted the interior of the children’s party space Chill.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Now, it is our turn to sing the praises of a few of the heroes of Hurricane Sandy — as there were so many of them, we could not possibly mention them all here — and thank them for rushing to the fore when we needed it the most.

Allison Robicelli:
Baker brought sweet relief
Big-hearted baker Allison Robicelli of Robicelli’s Bakery in Sunset Park and the now-closed Robicelli’s Gourmet Market on Third Avenue operated a relief center — first from her Bay Ridge apartment and later from Saint Mary’s Orthodox Church — where she deployed prepared hot meals to residents in Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Rockaways in cars she turned into bodegas on wheels.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

— Shavana Abruzzo