Breezy Point Update...
We left Wayland on Tuesday the 13th....raining, but with two tractor trailers filled to the brim - the 40' and the 53'!
We followed the little one and 4 firefighters from Ashby followed the big one to North Haven where we made a driver change - unions !!! Following these trucks thru Queens and Brooklyn was something else!
Our FDNY escort was waiting with lights flashing to take us over the bridge - the Rockaways - to Breezy Point. The sheer number of emergency vehicles was mind blowing, but none belonged to FEMA or the Red Cross!!! Mostly fire and National Guard, back hoes, front end loaders, fire hoses everywhere, and destruction everywhere.
This is a beach community made into a year-round community because fire, EMT's, and police have to live x number of miles from their assigned station and costs were off the wall....so the Rockaway area is now a year-round part of the city. Only problem is that the homes are on slabs or 2-3 foot foundations, and were swept aside by 15' storm surge - BOOM, and they were 100' from where they belonged - one house was split in two, and on the second floor the bed was still made ~ it looked more like tornados mixed with fire and up to 8' of sand left behind.
While the Guard emptied our mother lode, our firefighter Sean took us down to walk the beach....not near the fire, as it's still under a state of emergency, but passed the Army hummers parked on the sand....low tide is over a 1/4 mile from homes and its flat.....you can picture the water coming toward you! We walked for a least a mile, some homes completely not there, just a piece of fence and a house number written in the sand - 206 I remember! Broken everything, everywhere and this was two weeks after the storm...huge piles of stoves, water heaters, car parts, stereos, furniture bits, then a house pretty much intact, but 6' of sand throughout...
No private companies allowed at that point - no water, no gas, no electric, no tools - you could see where everything we brought could and would be used. No insurance people in either...these people felt forgotten, and they had been.
David wants to go back Christmas Eve with nothing but toys, but we need to see what will help them most....kids doing badly as many are still not in school - well they're living there, but no teaching is being done! They are so displaced and sad... all their "things" are gone and you know how much covet their treasures.
Steve, please know that every single thing you and Spencer brought was in good hands within 2 days...everything was gone!
Only thing they don't need is clothing...now I need to know what and when!
Hope you all had the best Thanksgiving.
Big hugs and a ton of thanks.
This was born yesterday, but we now have a 40 footer to take new toys to Breezy! They have an old traditional Christmas tree lighting that the entire community attends, and celebrates. When I called my civilian liaison, Theresa, yesterday she told me of the party then mentioned they had nothing to give the kids as holiday presents!!!
Their need has been for things to survive, but now it's time to care for the kids!
We are leaving Wayland on Friday, December 14th at 8am...hopefully with the 40' full of gifts, unwrapped.
We placed a maximum amount of $20.00 -$25.00 per gift. We didn't want to see one bike, or an IPhone show up...this way everything will be pretty much equal.
0-2 years stuffed animals
3-6 years Fisher - Price, and Cabbage Patch Dolls
7-9 years Lego's - Barbie for the girls
10-13 years Lego's
14+ Sport's Equipment- footballs, baseball equipment(gloves, balls and bats), soccer balls and several portable nets
Two things to remember NO SPORTS TEAM LOGOS on sports equipment. These kids have absolutely nothing. NOTHING THAT REQUIRES ELECTRICITY, they have none!
Sports equipment works for all ages from 6 on...they are all very involved in sports. We were even thinking that several of those movable basketball hoops would be great.
You and Spencer were so wonderful with our first load, we'd love it if you could spread the word for this Holiday trip!
Yes, we'll take checks - made payable to Cynthia Hill ~ I'll happily go shopping for these children who have no idea we're coming!
Steve and Spencer, thank you from me and from our Breezy Point friends. They really can't believe people care about them...
Read the attached Letter to the Editor!
And a letter to the editor written by Cynthia:
A journey to Breezy Point
To the residents of Wayland, and surrounding communities, the residents of Breezy Point NY, thank you.
They thank you for the two tractor trailer loads filled to the brim with generators, space heaters, work gloves, shovels, 22 wheelbarrows, pallets of bleach, electrical cords, boots, winter clothing for men, women and kids, diapers, pallets of paper towels and toilet paper, antibacterial gel, pet food, and so much more.
You loving brought cars, SUV's, and trucks full of necessities for our neighbors in New York who had nothing left after Hurricane Sandy. Stop & Shop, just days before they opened, not only donated the trucks, but drivers, gas, and their employees to help you unload your car...the General Manager, Mike Bussell, saw people in a horrific mess and along with his corporate team, when to work...he even made sure pallets of drinking water were in both trucks. Mike, also a volunteer Chief with the Ashby Fire Department, knew what these people needed after water, fire and up to 6 feet of sand swept away part or all of their homes.
I wish you could have seen the faces of the FDNY, National Guard and civilian volunteers as those huge trucks pulled in to an area still under a State of Emergency...we lifted the doors and people started to cry. With destruction everywhere they couldn't believe people cared about them....
A woman came up to me and told me I was her angel - I'm sure a few in town would disagree - now she could begin to dig out her house. I certainly wasn't her angel but I could hug her and let her know that so many wonderful people cared what happened to her, that we'd be there for Breezy.
The people of Breezy Point are a strong, proud and caring community, but looking around me, I couldn't imagine what courage it would take to keep going day after day.
It's been almost a month now ~ Breezy still has no electricity and all must leave before dark. You've probably heard about the looting, Theresa tells me it's not too bad. What do you mean "not too bad" I shouted to myself, you've worked for days to find odds and ends of your life, and someone steals it!
As the sun set on Breezy Point, November 13th 2012, several of us knew we'd be back, with whatever they needed, whenever they needed it.
Thank you for all that you've done, and all that we have left to do.
Cynthia Hill, the Breezy Point Project