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Colorado Students Travel To Help Long Island Recover From Sandy

Boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island damaged by Sandy - Nov. 9, 2012 (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island damaged by Sandy – Nov. 9, 2012 (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Superstorm Sandy

MASTIC BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - About a dozen Colorado State University students are spending their Thanksgiving holiday week in Mastic Beach helping residents ravaged by superstorm Sandy.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Story

“These guys aren’t affected by hurricanes. They live in the middle of Colorado, you know, but to see, I think, what Mother Nature can do here is pretty amazing,” said sociology professor Caroline Mitchell, who is traveling with them.

“They definitely get a better appreciation of what goes on, not just in Colorado, obviously, but other places,” she said. “A lot of them are interested in emergency management, law enforcement, criminal justice. So, they’re seeing it from a different perspective.”

22-year-old student Meagan Ribelin calls the experience amazing and life changing.

“It really does change people’s lives and if you can make a difference, then why not?” she said.

The students are offering emotional support and helping to remove debris.

“We helped a gentleman in the next block over clean his whole backyard today. It had a lot of blown up lumber from docks, a lot of debris basically. He’s a veteran and unable to do that on his own,” Mitchell said.

Ribelin calls it the best Thanksgiving holiday ever.

“I was going to go back home and visit my family, but it was something that just called to me – to help others,” she said.