Because of the severe damage, police were only permitting Long Beach residents to enter the city, but Gordon was able to enter because of his Red Cross credentials. From there, he began going home-to-home, asking people what they need. “For the first couple days, it was kind of a numb feeling,” he said. “You didn’t want to believe it actually happened. You didn’t want to believe what you were seeing, so you kind of put blinders on and did what you had to do.”
To gather supplies, Gordon put a wooden sign in front of his home, located on the corner of Newbridge Road and 4th Avenue, and spray-painted the words “Hurricane Relief Dropoff” on it. He then made a second trip to Long Beach to deliver supplies he received from the Knights of Columbus, and upon arriving home that night, he said, “My whole garage in front of the driveway was full of stuff. Clothes, food, you name it — it was there,”
From that point, Gordon said to himself, “We’re going to be in this for the long haul.”
Making a difference
A week after the hurricane, Gordon, Bracker and Dosil were making daily trips to Long Beach to deliver supplies before being required to leave by the designated 5 p.m. curfew. “You name it, we had everything, and if we didn’t have it, I made calls to make sure we had it for the next day to bring back to those people,” Gordon said.
Gordon also endured the lengthy gasoline lines that plagued local service stations for weeks following the hurricane. At times, he said, he waited for two to three hours and as late as 3 a.m. so he could refuel his car to return to Long Beach the following day.
But the number of volunteers steadily grew, and Gordon also teamed up with East Meadow Girl Scout Troops 1266 and 1674, which were holding their own donation drives. “Now it’s just been an outpour of people,” said Gordon. “I could never have imagined anything like it. Every single day that I go outside, I looked at the driveway and there would be a whole bunch of stuff.”