NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Superstorm Sandy was a cruel, viscous monster.
“The entire house was just covered in sewage, in mud,” said Andrew Carro of Oakwood Beach, Staten Island.
He and his wife Julie lost everything. Their home shifted and the roof caved in.
“It looked like someone picked up the house, shook it around with water inside, and just dropped it,” he said.
Some possessions had tremendous sentimental value.
“My guitars – I have four guitars. All my guitars are gone,” Andrew told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
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But someone came to his rescue.
“Not everyone can afford to buy one of my guitars. So, I thought I would give a guitar to somebody who lost one in the storm,” said Tony Costa of Midwood, Brooklyn.
He works in banking, but in his spare time, he tinkers in his garage, building guitars.
LINK: Costa Guitars
“A lot of people I know lost a lot in Hurricane Sandy. My mom’s house was flooded. So after helping with physical cleanup, I just felt like I could do more and I have a skill that not everybody has,” he said. “I know it seems trivial, but a guitar means a lot if you’re a guitar player.”
Costa posted his offer online and Julie responded, explaining how her husband would strum his acoustic to lull their infant son to sleep.
“After reading all of the other entries, I felt like I connected with the guy,” Costa said.
“When I got the call from Tony, you know, and he told me what he was gonna to do, I was just like a little kid again,” Andrew said.
A custom-made Costa guitar starts at $2,700. But this one would be free, with only the best materials.
“Wood from Mexico called Ziricote. It’s exotic wood. It’s kind of expensive, but I told him he could have whatever he wanted,” Costa said.
He said that some people he knows from various guitar building forums decided to donate some parts, including the tuners and neck.
There will be a piece of Sandy in this guitar, too.
“Over here is a piece of tree that was blown down by Hurricane Sandy and I’m going to use it to make some of the decoration on the guitar,” Costa told Adams.
It takes 200 hours to sand, shape, bend, glue, and lacquer the wood, but Costa said it’s the least he can do.
“To someone who doesn’t play, it seems kind of frivolous, but it’s a real big part of some people’s lives,” he said.
The guitar should be ready by July.
Andrew Carro has struggled with insurance adjusters, engineers, and FEMA. But at the end of the day, he said ordinary people – neighbors and perfect strangers alike – have restored his faith in humanity.
“People like Tony, we need more people like Tony in the world, honestly. I can’t be more grateful for the guy,” Andrew said.