Dani Sadorf, 22, earned a liberal arts degree from the University of Washington and may someday teach aerial dance. Arriving in November, she worked on the AmeriCorps team in New York helping survivors clean up after Hurricane Sandy. Far from her San Diego home, she was undaunted by the task at hand. Here, she recounts her experience.
I enter the house in Long Beach and, before starting the repairs, I look around to assess the amount of damage. One thing hits me. The calendar. Still stuck on the October day this family fled from Hurricane Sandy. But I am here months later.
All over this Long Beach neighborhood are signs of time standing still. Halloween pumpkins by the door. The trick or treat candy strewn on the kitchen floor was never passed out to children. Plastic fall leaves are strung around banisters.
Homeowners have been forced to give up their possessions, most damaged, some ruined. Renters have simply fled, leaving everything behind. I really didn’t know what to expect when I came to Long Island.
In weeks of mucking and gutting, I met homeowners who are ready to let it all go and move on and I’ve also met homeowners who are trying so hard to salvage even the moldiest items. There are residents who cannot even express the magnitude of their appreciation for our services. We have worked with hoarders, do-it-yourselfers, first-time homeowners and one woman living in a house passed down from the 40’s. Through it all, we have spent long hours and many days working with one major goal in mind - bringing families home.
Put the clock back in motion so that life can continue. The storm has passed but the damage is in the present until we can get everyone back into their homes made safe and solid.
And who knows what the future holds?
One home had new drywall that had been put up a year ago after damage from Hurricane Irene. And as hard as it is to watch someone lose so much, I find comfort knowing that I am doing all that I can to help restore what they lost. I may not have the money to replace what was destroyed for them, but I have a strong back and good hands to help fix the damage that Sandy left behind.
I can help families get past that October day a super storm changed their lives.