SANDY One Year Later
Warning frequencies increased and reports of Hurricane Sandy’s damages, as it traveled up the east coast, became more threatening to NYC, and more specifically, our little peninsula. Our mayor gave the edict to evacuate. The acceptance of the impending disaster eluded many. The light spanking of Hurricane Irene, in the previous year, may have brought about complacency. Some charged that Irene was much ado about nothing. Hence, the call to evacuate came across like the boy who cried wolf! Perceived as a leader, I endeavored to do my part via email and Facebook by imploring people to heed the warning and evacuate.
Realizing that I could use a kayak, by the amount of water outside my house, during the morning high tide, I acknowledged that what lay ahead was to be more serious than anything that I’d encountered heretofore. It was time to go !
Indeed, the wolf came, this time, and the task she brought great! No heat, no power, no gas, filing Fema applications, insurance claims, finding food and reliable contractors for my house, my mom’s house, and serving a community in need. By day nine, ‘God help,’ was my cry! I find solace in the Scripture “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6
In days following the storm, I managed resource distribution at the Church of God Christian Academy gym. Later, National Grid enabled us to become a warming center, and distribute 100 turkeys. Daily, I attended to the 101st Precinct muster room, to keep it tidy for the police officers working around the clock. I sat in meetings with community leaders and elected officials to learn and keep the residents informed of changing conditions and resources.
Ah, Sandy reflection does bring gratifying thoughts of accomplishment and victory. Mother Nature yielded a formidable blow, yet the people of Rockaway were able to surmount. Police and community were, and are, working together. The Hatfields and McCoys laid down arms and ate from the same food truck. Alliances were formed across the peninsula; in the eastern bungalow area, as well as the NYCHA residences. The masses became neighborly. The murder rate is at a jaw-dropping low in the 101st Precinct. For me, Sandy has affirmed, yes, we can, Rockaway!
Denean Ferguson is a longtime Far Rockaway resident and is vice-president of the 101st Precinct Community Council.