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Tom McKenna
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Took the family to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music hall today. Love the March of the wooden toy soldiers

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Posting some of what I have witnessed over the past two days in my hometown, Staten Island, NY during Sandy's aftermath.

Staten Island NY, Saturday November 3rd
- Hearing how much people lost, my wife and I gathered up coats, sweaters, blankets, kid shoes and clothes, and dog/cat food to donate
- When we went to drop the items off, I was amazed at how many people were using their precious gas, during a shortage, to do the very same thing.  Amazing.  Makes you love New Yorkers even more
- Saw two military trucks loaded to the top with clothes.  Chills.
- High Schools pitching in as sorting centers.  Went to Farrell and St Joseph by the Sea.  The kids were doing their part.  Just unbelievable.
- Dropped the clothes off at Hilton Garden Inn on South Ave.  The owner deserves a shout out.  Not only did he set up a donation center in a ballroom, he turned away marathon runners so he wouldn't kick out Statend Islands who lost their homes.
 
Staten Island NY, Sunday November 4th
- Spent the day helping my relatives in Oakwood SI.  Their basement was flooded.  Cut our sheetrock and insulation for most of the day
- Walked over to one of the donation areas in Oakwood Beach to get more contractor bags.  Man these go fast.  Piles of garbage everywhere.
- Donation/ pick-up area was amazing. It was someones house with set up tables.  Hot food, clothes, and cleaning supplies.   Staten Islanders banded together to help their neighbors
- Houses below Mill Road in Oakwood Beach were devastated.  The news isnt doing justice for the destruction to these peoples lives.  Many homes with red stickers (evacuate - house not safe) and yellow stickers (salvageble).
- Some of the devastation I saw (and never want to see happen again) -- Houses flooded above the first floor windows.  You could see the water line.  Boats in and cars just tossed into yards, houses knocked clear off thier foundation, lost pet signs on doors, roofs and the tops of houses in a marsh that was well over 500 feet from their foundation, complete homes washed away, debris everywhere, personal belongings and memories in piles in front of each house, kids toys scattered, severe condensation on the inside of cars that will no longer work, I coudl go on...
- Some of the postive things I saw - People helping neighbors, volunteers helping all over to rake, clean up, sweep, scoop up sand, shovel sheetrock, etc.  People pushing carts filled with food asking if anyone was hungry, Red Cross assisting with donations, NYPD walking the streets and directing traffic, NYC Sanitation scopping up piles and piles of peoples belongings (I think I saw about 15 garbage trucks in 10 mins), a NYC bus running with a sign that said "warm inside, come in"

What I learned...
-  Staten Island is down but not out.  We've been through alot, and we can survive this one too.   
- The sense of urgency is strong.  Its cold outside, these folks have no electric, no heat, and still have flooded basements.  No electric means no power to pump out water.  The generators help, but with a gas shortage, this makes it tough to pump out using a generator
- The people donating time and volunteering are amazing.  The smile soneone had from getting baby diapers and socks almost made me want to hug a stranger.
- We need to keep this up much longer than a few days. This is someones life that was severly impacted.

#StatenIsland #HelpSI 

-Tom
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