NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Even after having his home ruined by Hurricane Sandy, Mickey Chirieleison’s focus was on helping others.
Now, volunteers are helping the Vietnam veteran, and Bronze Star winner, rebuild his own life.
After Sandy flooded Red Hook, Chirieleison spent long days helping his neighbors recover; neighbors including his beloved VFW Post, Post 51-95. During that time Mickey put repairs to his own, flood ravaged, home on the back burner.
“I was more interested in taking care of everyone else than taking care of my home,” Chirieleison told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Friday.
Those repairs remained on the back burner until Friday, when the cavalry arrived with plans to work on Mickey’s home until it is fixed.
“We want to help him get back on his feet so he can continue doing work to help this great community,” Brian Hanover of Sears Heroes at Home told CBS 2.
The group coordinating the work said that there are still hundreds of homeowners who need help.
“We want to make it known, volunteers are needed here. Skilled contractors are needed here. All hands on deck as far as NYC is concerned, and the rest of the affected region,” Rebuilding Together NYC organizer Chelsea Muller said.
Repairs will continue into the month of June, and when the walls are finally up and painted, Mickey said he’ll have something very special to hang up in his dining room — a painting of an American flag, signed by the volunteers who helped to rebuild his home.
“It will be in my heart every day,” he said.
Among the volunteers on hand in Red Hook on Friday were employees of Credit Suisse and a group of men and women from the United Arab Emirates.
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