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A Spirit Of Community In Freeport
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the Nassau County community of Freeport was among slammed hard by Sandy. In the year since, residents have been standing united and working together to rebuild since the storm.
A year ago, the iconic Nautical Mile in Freeport was swallowed by fire and saltwater. Cars became fish tanks, boats slammed into homes, and businesses went under.
But while the rebound has been slow, it also has been profound. Workers at the Triumph Systems of Freeport aerospace factory on the Nautical Mile were looking back Tuesday.
Through it all, the 60 employees at the factory never lost a paycheck when the factory was flooded and forced to shut down. Workers credited the owner’s family spirit, loyalty and generosity.
“This is a very emotional day, because we have gone through such a devastating tragedy here with this company completely under water,” said Triumph Systems chief executive officer Rick Reed.
One year later, the triumphant reopening was not lost on mechanic Tom Kenny, who lost everything both at home and at work.
“There’s a bright spot,” he said. “My daughter’s having a baby, and my son is getting married.”
But while bright spots were visible, losses remained close at hand a year later.
Across the South Shore village, 4,000 homes were flooded, and a year later, 500 remained vacant. A total of 100 were still awaiting demolition.
But Freeport municipal officials said progress will soon go ahead.
“We have ‘Friends of Freeport’ who have come out — a volunteer group of 40 or 50 individuals — come out every week, completely gut the homes,” said Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy.
And it was volunteers, not the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who helped the oldest restaurant on the Woodcleft Canal rebound. Otto’s Restaurant has finally reopened.
“Although one part of your life has put back together, the puzzle is still not complete,” said Ilona Jagnow of Otto’s Restaurant. “This wreaked havoc on our whole town; our whole area.”
Down the block, the Barriga family could not give enough praise to the spirit of recovery they saw in their local fishmonger, Captain Ben’s Seafood.
“All of us were affected, all of us,” said Carmen Barriga. “To see that they are making it nicer and better really is wonderful.”
“People cared about one another,” added Jerry Bracco of Captain Ben’s. “Everybody pitched in to help each other. Anybody who needed anything, they all stuck together.”
An Eye Toward Tomorrow
Other parts of Long Island are also moving forward and looking to the future.
Nassau County has bought new rescue and recovery equipment that’s described as crucial for weather-related emergencies. County Executive Edward P. Mangano said they include solar-powered traffic signal trailers and message signs that won’t fail during power outages. The purchases also include high-axel vehicles; and new radios designed to improve communications between first responders.
The American Red Cross has also awarded $2.35 million in grants for Superstorm Sandy relief on Long Island.
The Community Development Corporation of Long Island, LLC, is getting $2 million. It will distribute the money to 325 households on Long Island that were flooded by Sandy and are now in need of mold remediation.
The Red Cross also is giving a $350,000 grant to the United Way of Long Island.
The United Way will use the money for sub-grants to community groups. The organizations will provide assistance with housing, social services and other support projects.
The Red Cross said it has received $308 million in donations for Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts. As of Sept. 30, it says $280 million, or more than 90 percent, has been distributed.
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