Waves of water pounded down both ends of the block when Roseann Harris, and her children, Richard, Robert and Rachel, floored the gas pedal on their cars to make their escape from Hurricane Sandy. When they returned the next day, they found their once-cozy, blue-sided home in to New Dorp, Staten Island ravaged by the super storm. Their son’s bedroom, family room, and laundry room in their once-finished basement were submerged from floor to ceiling. The force of the rapids turned over their washing machine. Walls were ripped off and windows broken. Ceiling tiles floated alongside baby photos and grandma’s china. Along the street, ocean reeds a half-foot deep mingled with garbage and memories.
“I went to St. Charles Church on Sunday and heard Monsignor read the names of people who died during the storm,” Ms. Harris recalled, “and I said ‘I’m okay. I’m okay.’ My children are here. My house is destroyed but we can rebuild.”
And rebuild, thanks to friends, family, and volunteers from her sons’ high school, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, is what they are doing. Within a half hour of learning what happened to the Harris home, football players from her sons’ past and present high school teams showed up with coaches, a generator, gas, clean water and tools. They gutted the basement and began to rebuild.
“Our church always says we’re family,” Ms. Harris said. “It’s more than just words. It’s action.”