It was late Tuesday afternoon when I found myself in the lobby of our Brooklyn turn out location with my partner Tomatoes. Hurricane Sandy had struck just 24 hours before leaving behind a devastated landscape, the scope of which was just coming into focus. Although downtown Manhattan had flooded from three sides, the true images of destruction were coming in from Far Rockaway and Staten Island. Tomatoes herself had just come from Far Rockaway and she had be astounded at the sheer magnitude of the damage.
While we were standing there one of the medics who had worked the night before came in. He looked flustered and haggard to say the least. Tomatoes looked at him and asked, “How’d you make out?”
“I lost everything. The water was seven feet high in my apartment,” he explained with a heavy sigh and shoulders that slumped at this admission.
“What about your family?” I asked, knowing he and his wife had just welcomed their first child into the world a mere four months prior.
“That’s my saving grace. They’re okay, I got them into a hotel room but I have nothing else. We lost everything,” he replied. There was a moment of silence between us, that awkward moment where you just don’t know what to say because no matter what it is, it really won’t make a difference. “If it’s possible, can I get an extra uniform? All I have is the one I was wearing last night which, as you may be able to tell, is what I’m wearing tonight,” he asked, breaking the moment.
“Of course, just go tell logistics what you need,” said Tomatoes. The medic nodded his head and walked to logistics to get another uniform. Once he had passed through the door Tomatoes turned to me and said, “That is absolutely horrific. He was doing the NYU evacuation last night while his entire life was being washed away.”
I nodded my head in agreement before asking the question that had become the elephant in the room, “I wonder how many others are in that situation? Thousands? Tens of thousands?”
“Probably,” Tomatoes agreed, “More importantly how many of them are ours?”
The answer to her question is 12. My agency has a dozen members of service who have lost everything… and even though they’ve lost everything, they still reported for their shifts to help us meet the need… and the need for us is great, of that my dear friends I can assure you.
Those of you who have read my blogs over the past few years know that I am a big believer in promoting good causes. I believe in the power of social media to promote social good. It is also important to remember that if those of us in EMS don’t take care of our own, no one else will. Those of you who have read my blogs also know that I do not mix or reference my day job with what I blog. The disclaimer’s in the sidebar, this remains my blog, my opinion, and not that of either my employer, associations, or organizations that I belong to.
With that said, I am making a personal appeal to you to help us provide for those members of service who’s lives have utterly been destroyed by this event. Insurance and FEMA are great, but as we all know that is something these victims are both uncertain about seeing and won’t see for many months. Next week is Thanksgiving, and I can think of nothing better to show my thankfulness for what I have than to help alleviate some of that uncertainty from those 12 members of my service.
My agency is collecting donations into the TC Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund**, and I ask that you consider donating to this fund. Donations are being accepted through PayPal.
I understand that economic times are tough, and I understand that you may not be able to offer a financial contribution at this time. I will ask then that you share this blog post on as many social networks that you belong to, share the TC Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund site, and share the story of the providers that lost everything while aiding those unable to care for themselves during the height of the storm.
Whether it is a financial contribution, sharing the blog post or the fund site, or simply sharing the story of these providers… I deeply thank you for your kindness and support.
**Due to server issues related to storm damage the fund site may not appear available, however the PayPal link should be operational for everyone