About two weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy caused unbelievable destruction to the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The storm caused damage people would not think possible for these areas. I, as well as many students who attend Saint Joseph’s University, am from this area which was devestated by the affects of the hurricane. I have never heard or seen of the wreckaged which occurred in New York City. I for one never would have believed subways would be shut down, floods would rage through the streets, or parts of buildings would be ripped away. However, nothing compares to the horrible devestation left along the New Jersey shore line. Many friends and students have summer houses within this area, where they have (for 3 months out of the year) grown up since they were young. A place where they had many great memories and valuables. Hurricane Sandy almost effortlessly wiped out this entire are, with the exception of a few modern house, which were able to withhold the hurricane because of its new design.
When all finally settled, a group of students on the Men’s Lacrosse Team were determined to help the cause. A group of 12 players and 1 parent headed down to the town of Manahowkin on November 10th to aide those who were affected by the hurricane. The 12 men did not know what to expect going in, but felt the urge to assist those who (like a lot of themselves) were affected by the disasters. It was a small step toward helping rebuild a community, vacation house, and most importantly new memories. The experience turned to be a life changing experience none would ever forget. From the first house to the last, the men formed relationships with people overly appreciated of their efforts to help strangers take the first steps toward normalicy. By going down to the shore, we did not plan on bringing back the loss memories or valuables. We planned on helping people begin to forge new ones and offer support to people who had been through a traumatic experience.
The event was an eyeopening experience for all 12 involved. We learned everyone had a different story from an elder couple who were persistent on attempting to save every little piece possible to a gentleman who asked us to literally gut his entire house by breaking down his walls. There were also people who just asked for simple help through cutting up some rugs or carrying out dressers. No matter what we did or who we did it for the results were still the same. We impacted the lives of everyone we helped that Saturday because we were able to represent a symbol of hope to people who were down to nothing. They were able to see people outside of their community care and wanted to be a part of their initial steps back to their normal lives. We all learned a great deal from the experience as well. We learned no matter how hard we think things are some times, there is always someone out there who needs help more than ourselves. The quote of the day when we asked people if they needed free labor instantly became, “No it’s okay, go help somebody else who needs the help more than I do.” Wow. This was coming from people who NEEDED the help, but still were thinking about others.
The only way to fix things is to forget about the past and begin to move toward the future. I believe we helped a handful of people do that, even if it was only for a day.