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Volunteers Remember 9/11 By Helping First Responders Rebuild After Sandy

Group Plans To Rebuild 200 Homes
Volunteers from New York Says Thank You rebuilds an NYPD officer's home in Long Beach (Credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Volunteers from New York Says Thank You rebuilds an NYPD officer’s home in Long Beach (Credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Superstorm Sandy

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A group of volunteers are remembering 9/11 by helping first responders rebuild their homes after superstorm Sandy.

New York Says Thank You was formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Each year, the group travels to different cities across the country on the week of Sept. 11 to help communities hit by disaster rebuild.

Volunteers said it’s their way of thanking all those that helped New York City after the attacks.

This year the group isn’t traveling far.

“We’ve gone everywhere but New York to thank everybody for what they did for us,” said Kathleen McCarthy, Director of Development. “After Hurricane Sandy being in our backyard, we decided to make a commitment to rebuild 200 first responder homes. We know these FDNY and NYPD are fighting every day to protect us so we have to get them home as quick as possible.”

On Thursday, volunteers were already hammering away in Long Beach, helping NYPD officer Charles Sadler rebuild his home 10 months after Sandy.

“Our house was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy,” Sadler said.

Sadler received the news that his house would be rebuilt on the day his wife went in for surgery and found out she didn’t have cancer.

“I still can’t believe it and I’m standing here right in front of the building,” Sadler said. “It’s amazing, Thank you to everybody.”

“It definitely gives the true meaning to paying it forward,” Sadler’s wife, Gina, said.

Volunteer Eric Abney, of Slidell, La., said some of the New Yorkers working on the Sadler home were in Louisiana eight years ago following Hurricane Katrina and built a pier for a young boy with leukemia.

“It’s not about 9/11, it’s about 9/12,” Abney said. “The same thing happened the day after Katrina, everybody came to come help us.”

Abney says it’s all about “paying it back and paying it forward.”

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