NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s bravest are answering a new call for help.
A group of FDNY volunteers are dedicating their off hours to rebuild communities shattered by Superstorm Sandy.
Joanne and Franco Calella still didn’t have power in Breezy Point on Friday. They have a small generator to use a kitchen light and their microwave, but have yet to see running water or have use of their toilets.
“It’s very hard to get a hold of an electrician and a plumber. I have been waiting a week. I haven’t got an answer yet,” Joanne Calella said.
The Calellas felt stranded until they found out about “Operation: Gut and Pump” — an effort that began with one FDNY fireman.
Kevin Adams needed help rebuilding his own home when his fellow FDNY colleagues pitched in. They began volunteering for free to help rebuild Breezy Point.
“Water through the first floor of my home. It was my first experience with gutting and pumping,” said Adams, of Engine 48 in the Bronx.
The Calellas’ basement was furnished, with a living room and antique dining room, but five firemen came down and took out 50 bags.
They pulled the ceiling down, brought everything to the curb — something the family could not have done themselves.
“You help one family a day, you get to the end somehow,” said Steve O’Donnell, the battalion chief of Ladder 27 in the Bronx.
Erin Corcoran Daly, also a recipient, is now volunteering to connect families in need. Earlier, the Calellas went to the home base on Beach 210th Street to say thank you to her and the countless firemen and civilians now donating their time and effort.
The Calellas said they no longer feel alone and despite all of their losses. They feel loved more than ever.
Operation: Gut and Pump now has firefighters from as far away as Charleston, S.C., and as of next week New Orleans. It plans to do about 20 more days of service to help another 100 families.
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