NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a celebration and a statement in a community badly in need of both. A couple in Breezy Point got married Friday, more than a month after living with the destruction of Superstorm Sandy.
The husband and wife told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey their tying the knot is part of the rebuilding process.
In the midst of the damage still evident in Breezy Point, a place ravaged by the fire and fury of the storm, there was hope and happiness inside one home, where they were preparing for a celebration.
“I’m so excited,” Tracy Rutter said. “I’ve waited a really long time for this.”
Hennessey caught up with EMT Rutter and city firefighter Rich Whalen.
“It’s where we both grew up,” Whalen said.
As they were getting ready for Friday’s wedding, both committed to each other and to the notion of tying their knot where Sandy brought devastation to their shores.
“Come hell or high water we’re still going to get married,” Rutter said.
Both hell and high water ruined property and lives, and damaged the couple’s home to the point where they had to move. Through it all, this EMT and firefighter were helping those in need.
“You know, just horrible calls you don’t want to hear — people trapped in their attic,” Whalen said.
Still, they said the wedding is making a statement to their community.
“It signifies that we’re getting back and we’re going to rebuild,” Whalen said.
On Friday, the bride was driven to her childhood church in the first fire engine that responded to those Breezy Point fires, escorted by her firefighter dad, who was there that night when more than 100 homes were lost.
Then it was the walk down the aisle, symbolic in more ways than one.
“It means more to us that we can do it here because we want to bring that back and show everybody we’re still here and, yeah, we’re still struggling but we’re gonna come back and we’re gonna be okay,” Rutter said.
After the mass, there was a celebration amidst a sense that nothing can break this bond, given all they’ve seen and lived through.
“I think we can get through anything,” Whalen said.
“We’re going to weather any storm. Throw it at us, we can take it,” Rutter added.
Next up for the couple, a trip to the Poconos and then they’ll come back to Breezy Point and build a home.
The couple had been dating for three years and has a 1-year-old daughter named Calleigh.
It was the first wedding for the Church of St. Thomas More.
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