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Gerritsen Beach Residents United, But Growing Impatient With Government

Acting Volunteer Fire Chief: 'We Need Our Homes Rebuilt. That's What We Need'
Gerritsen Beach relief center

Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn residents can get a hot meal and some supplies at relief centers, but what they really want is help from the federal government getting their homes rebuilt. (Photo: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Like so many communities along our shores, Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn was devastated by Superstorm Sandy — even though it’s designated “Zone B” — and people were not forced to evacuate before the storm.

CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock visited the tight-knit community Wednesday to see how it is recovering.

“Two weeks later, the only thing I can say is I’m over the emotional part; now I’m just mad,” Peggy Taylor said.

Taylor said Federal Emergency Management Agency workers are giving her the runaround, telling her her house is inaccessible to them.

“How can you say that? I’ve been here every day,” Taylor said.

She’s been there every day with her daughter by her side, salvaging the little that’s left.

“I have no heat, have no furniture, I have nothing,” Taylor said.

However, she does have a makeshift Christmas tree decorated with her funky chicken.

“I’m just trying to make a joke. I can’t cry any more about it,” Taylor said.

Murdock first met Taylor at the Gerritsen Beach relief center, where so many still struggling to rebuild come to grab a hot meal and supplies.

“It has gotten better. It’s a slow process,” said Doreen Garson, the acting chief of the volunteer fire department.

Garson has been hailed a local hero for working non-stop to get the people of Gerritsen Beach whatever help they need.

“People are getting frustrated. It’s getting cold. There are children in the dark,” Garson said.

Nearly half of the residents were still without power on Wednesday.

“They have no way to cook their food, no hot water. They can’t take showers,” Garson said. “We need attention. We never needed attention before. We were self-sufficient. We need the government to step up.”

“I just got power last night. I still don’t have heat. My Allstate was denied because I don’t have flood insurance, but I’m not in a flood zone,” Phyllis Coplardo said.

“We need our homes rebuilt here. That’s what we need,” Garson added.

Until that happens, this community will walk the road to recovery united.

“God bless the people of Gerritsen Beach,” Coplardo said.

It’s a community on the mend, but there is still a long way to go.

Another issue plaguing Gerritsen Beach is transportation. So many cars were lost, getting around is still a problem.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …