ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy victims are proving this Valentine’s Day that their love is stronger than the forces of nature.
Couples who lost their family heirlooms and photo albums marking a lifetime of memories to Sandy’s floods renewed their vows in a special ceremony at the Bridgeview Yacht Club in Island Park.
Bridgeview is the perfect setting of the event which will celebrate “Love That Has Weathered the Storm.” The club was under seven feet of water during Sandy and is now a symbol of recovery in the storm-ravaged community.
Drew and Michelle Hanson lost everything when four feet of water flooded their home during Sandy.
“It was pretty rough when it all happened, we did stay when the storm came but we just kind of pulled together and did what we had to do,” Michelle told TV 10-55’s Amy Dardashtian.
The couple made it through the storm together along with the support of family and friends; now they are renewing their vows 24 years after marrying.
“I gotta keep that smile on that face, that’s it,” Drew said.
“Having this today, this is awesome, this is great. It makes you realize that there’s a lot of family and friends out there that back you up and support you,” Michelle said.
Edward and Ruth Samuelson also renewed their vows at the yacht club on Valentine’s Day, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house during the ceremony, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Their Meadowmere Park home was inundated with three feet of water during Sandy. They said that was not the first time they’ve dealt with disaster.
“Twenty years ago, we lost our house to a fire. So we had fire, flood and now we’re just waiting for locusts,” Ruth told Diamond.
After 45 years of marriage, Ruth said their bond is stronger than ever.
“But once in a while you have sad, and it makes you realize that you have happiness, too. You can build a lot out of sadness and happiness. It all works out,” she told Diamond.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray presided over the vow renewals for 11 couples.
“For these people to come out the other end still loving each other and still wanting to live with each other and be married to each other, that’s a great success and we’re celebrating that today,” Murray said.
Elsewhere on Long Island, about 70 couples married for at least 50 years will renew their vows at a ceremony at the Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and religious officials will lead a ceremony at the Coral House in Baldwin where over 500 couples are expected to renew their vows as part of a free Valentine’s Day luncheon reception.