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Friends in need

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The impromptu Kennedy/Firriolo Christmas party of 2012 was an affair to remember. More than 30 people attended, hunkering down in the Kennedy’s half-finished main room. The guests included family members, marooned neighbors, a number of flood adjusters and volunteers from out of state. A Christmas tree stood in a sunny alcove, but the presents beneath it were piled on bare subfloor, and streaks of joint compound framed the walls around it.

“He told me around that time that the job reaffirmed his belief in himself,” Kennedy said of Firriolo. “That was the best Christmas present I got this year.”

Now, four months removed from the holidays and sitting in what for all intents and purposes is a fully renovated home, Kennedy and Firriolo relate to each other like the friends they have become. Kennedy says he and his wife love their house more now than they did before the hurricane, and Firriolo is operating with a renewed confidence.

As Kennedy helped Firriolo prep for a photo, removing a sawdusty scarf from around his neck, the builder smiled and looked up at his neighbor turned friend.

“This is my 15 minutes, right Joe?” he said.

“The women are going to be flocking, Fred,” Kennedy replied, grinning. “You’ll have to beat them away from the door.”

“I know. My wife is going to get jealous.”

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