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Staten Island Family Moves Back Home One Year After Sandy

Tunnel To Towers Foundation, Volunteers Rebuild Midland Beach Home
Olena Roytblat and her children return to their Staten Island home one year after Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

Olena Roytblat and her children return to their Staten Island home one year after Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Staten Island family is back in their home one year after Sandy thanks to volunteers.

“It feels amazing to go back home,” said Olena Roytblat.

Last year, surging flood waters forced Roytblat and her three children into the attic of their one-story bungalow on Mason Avenue in Midland Beach.

Roytblat’s 8-year-old son Joey said he was afraid they wouldn’t survive.

“I didn’t want to go to sleep because I was really scared that the water was going to rise up,” he said.

A celebratory cake for Olena Roytblat and her children as they returned to their Staten Island home one year after Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

A celebratory cake for Olena Roytblat and her children as they returned to their Staten Island home one year after Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

After 12 hours in the attic, the family of four was finally rescued, but their home was destroyed.

PHOTOS: Sandy — One Year Later

“We were literally huddling with each other for warmth that night, looking outside screaming for help again and again,” said Roytblat’s 14-year-old daughter Isabella Gorishnay. “I’m very thankful to have my family here and to come back in here and have a home again.”

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation and volunteers stripped the home’s interior and rebuilt it.

“To come back in here and see that it’s fixed and that it’s livable, it’s amazing,” said Roytblat’s 11-year-old daughter Rachel.

The organization is halfway through rebuilding 400 Sandy-damaged homes, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“We were called upon by the community to help out with this disaster. It was kind of a natural progression for us,” Tom McDonough with the Tunnel To Towers Foundation told CBS 2.

Volunteers from various organizations rebuilt the Roytblat home and Monday starting at 10 p.m., volunteers will work for 24 hours straight to get yet another family back in their home.

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