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Holiday Heroes Go All Out For Sandy Victims In New Jersey

We Are Team Jersey

Danielle Pent of We Are Team Jersey works on a house damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

Superstorm Sandy

BRICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some helping hands in New Jersey have offered hope for a better new year following Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, the group calls itself “We Are Team New Jersey,” and refurbishes people’s homes from start to finish.

Megan McAtazney has four kids and works a full-time overnight shift. Yet, she has been forgoing sleep and dedicating her days to rebuilding the lives of virtual strangers, like an elderly couple trapped and devastated by Sandy in Brick, N.J.

“We removed three feet of walls to get all the walls out before the mold started to grow; removed all the carpet; electric had to be pulled; heating and air conditioning,” McAtazney said.

McAtazney is not volunteering alone. Danielle Pent also has small children and a full-time job.

“I have never painted before, so this is my first time painting; spackling,” Pent said. “But I’ve been here almost every day since it started.”

McAtazney and Pent’s We Are Team New Jersey group began with two people on Facebook, wanting to mobilize strangers with help. One of those people was Shannon Ruvelas.

“I always say, like, where there’s a will there’s a way, and there’s always a way to get something done,” she said.

Mark Wierbicki was the second volunteer.

“I grew up in this area and just seeing the devastation, I wanted to do more,” he said.

And it took off from there, growing into about 1,000 volunteers. Another, Craig Law, is the owner of Brick Township Heating and Air Conditioning.

“There’s plenty of people who can pay, which fine. Some can’t, or are having trouble doing it,” he said.

It is going to be a long process, but the team’s short-term goal is to have Walter and Jill Bennett home for Christmas.

Without giving specifics, the couple said they are dealing with cancer, and have 33 years of memories in their home.

“We couldn’t have afforded it ’til Team Jersey came in and saved our life, really,” Walter Bennett said.

The Bennetts even have a tree topped with an angel, compliments of people who went from strangers to a family when they needed it most.

We Are Team Jersey has helped about 50 homeowners so far.

Have you done anything to help Sandy victims? Please leave your comments below…