Courtesy Carol Ueckerman-Smalls/Herald
Some senior residents at Baldwin’s Halandia Shores had been confused and alone for days before a group traveled all the way from Suffolk County to help.
The power was still out in many homes; the seawater was still in many homes. It was getting cold, and another storm was on the horizon. But even as Baldwin struggled against wave after wave of bad fortune, a second tide was rising. Community spirit — the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor — was helping Baldwin battle back.
For the past week and a half, the Herald has been inundated with reports of aid efforts being set up for those in need. Some of these came from the disaster-relief pros. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was doing its thing. LIPA was, and still is, working to get power restored. The National Guard set up a food distribution center at Meadow Elementary School to provide meals and supplies to residents who were without power or hot water.
More affecting, however, have been the tales of everyday people who’ve just been helping out. In some cases, people who don’t even live in the area.
On Monday morning, Joan Ogno, an elderly resident at the Halandia Shores senior housing facility, at the intersection of Grand and Atlantic, called the Herald. “We thought no one was coming to check on us,” Ogno said, explaining that she and many of her fellow residents had been stuck in their apartments for days. “No one came. Not the Red Cross. No one.
“Then there was a knock at the door,” she continued, “and someone said, ‘Come to the community room.’ We went down and there was food, water, fruit, heat. There were people to talk to. I didn’t need a sandwich or anything, but I was just happy to finally have people to speak with. I asked whom to thank for all this. It turned out the people who brought us all that stuff don’t even live in Nassau. They live in Suffolk County, and used their own money to bring us all these things. They said they just felt bad for us, and so they went shopping. They got their teenage kids to help out, and those teens got more teens. It was very nice.”