It has been two difficult months since Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, bringing devastation to areas along the coastline. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) 12 chapters that represent the Northeastern region are stepping up in in big ways this holiday season—lending a hand and expertise to those who need it most.
“Those affected by the storm are now trying to piece lives back together,” says NARI National Chairman Michael Hydeck, MCR, CKBR, president of Hydeck Design Build Inc., in Telford, Pa. Hydeck himself assisted a fellow officer in the Long Island, N.Y. area when he loaded his car with gasoline, a generator and food and drove several hours to make the delivery.
Many of the projects out there require skilled remodeling professionals, and NARI members are doing their part to assist in rebuilding efforts in their local communities. “The NARI community is proud to come together and support each other in what will be a long and difficult rebuilding process,” Hydeck says.
Here is a look at some of NARI’s Sandy recovery efforts so far.
New York City/Long Island NARI chapter took action after seeing a news report about the Heckman family’s struggle to treat one child’s recent leukemia diagnosis with a home destroyed by the storm. The chapter immediately organized a rebuild of the home, gathering supplies and labor, for what will eventually be a new home for the family.
NARI-Staten Island Home Improvement Contractors Association is focused on education and safety for homeowners during the rebuild. They have joined forces with other groups and business leaders to form the Rebuild SI coalition, with the goal of disseminating information to more than 20,000 victims on issues like avoiding unscrupulous/unlicensed contractors, health risks associated with flood waters and hazardous materials left behind, and proper care and removal during clean up to lessen risk.
In addition, Steven Coppola, NARI-HIC of Staten Island Liaison and president of APB Security Systems Inc., in Staten Island, N.Y., says that many members are giving back in additional ways. “Remodelers are giving free estimates to help victims apply for assistance, and some are performing work without any assurance of payment,” Coppola says.
NARI of Bucks-Mont chapter based in Spring House, Pa., raised funds and organized multiple supply drop-off trips to New York City. On one trip to Queens, chapter board members joined Bill Clinton, and volunteers from the Clinton Global Initiative in rebuild efforts.
Chapter Membership Chair Laura Hawley, principal of Ambiance Design based in Pipersville, Pa., continues to look for help and donations and plans to return to the same neighborhood. “There is just so much to do and still great need,” Hawley says.
NARI Eastern Massachusetts chapter based in Newton Centre, Mass., organized a supply drop-off at Breezy Point, home to many New York City police and firefighters who are themselves in need of assistance from flooding and fires. Everything from light construction equipment, clothing, food and water were collected in the effort.
Building Industries Exchange of Pottstown and Vicinity Inc., member Steven Oehlert, of Oehlert Brothers Inc., a heating and cooling company in Royersford, Pa., made 20 emergency fuel deliveries to New Jersey residents and municipalities in need of gasoline and diesel to power generators and more directly following the storm. Additionally, Potty Queen, a portable restroom rental company based in Pottstown, Pa., donated portable restrooms and comfort stations in to areas in New York and New Jersey.
Remodeling Contractors Association of Connecticut chapter member Carl Loschiavo, president of Timberline Carpentry in Stratford, Conn., and property owner in the Milford Shore area, lost two homes in the storm. Nevertheless, Loschiavo and his crew started pumping water from basements during first three days following the storm and set up a grill and passed out hot dogs and hamburgers to workers and victims. “It was great to bring neighbors and workers together to talk and laugh over hot food, if even only a minute—it gave people a little break from the smell and disaster around them,” Loschiavo says.
North Jersey NARI chapter members, based in Hawthorne, N.J., are doing their part to help as well, providing free delivery of materials and donating a portion of jobs sold from November to the end of January to the American Red Cross Sandy Relief fund.
“A great source of pride for remodelers comes from driving through a neighborhood and pointing out all homes and buildings that they remodeled in their communities,” Hydeck says. “So when something like Sandy comes along and destroys their community, rebuilding and restoring the community becomes a labor of love. It’s not over until our communities are rebuilt.” +