Friends in need

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“You and your crews were at my house every single day, including Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. working on the restoration and renovation,” Kennedy wrote in his letter. “Always courteous and wary of disturbing me and my family, you arrived on time and asked permission to begin work each day. What began as a ‘repair storm damage’ project blossomed into a major undertaking that involved significant structural work (pilings, footers, columns, steel headers, and countless other things), which completely transformed my house from a typical expanded cape to something truly visionary.”

And while the Kennedys were finding renewed hope and strength in Firriolo’s commitment, the contractor was learning that he was still capable of handling a large-scale job.

“I learned that I can still do this,” Firriolo said, his eyes gleaming with their signature permanent wink.

“He was a rock,” Kennedy said. “He was down under the floor, pouring concrete and installing rebar.”

The situation was symbiotic. Thrown together by fate, a family in flux developed a fondness for the contractor who helped them re-establish order, and the contractor, for his part, found that helping his neighbors in need rekindled a confidence that had been on the wane.

Sandy struck at the bitter end of October, and by the time December rolled around, the Kennedys, the Firriolos and many hard-hit people on Harbor Court had rallied around the kinship born of the storm.

“Every year Fred has this Christmas party,” Kennedy recalled. “He would dress up in his version of a Santa suit … But this year he spent so much time on our house, his own wasn’t done. I said we could have the party here, since this was the only place in the area that could handle anything like that.”

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