A team of disaster relief volunteers from Woodlands Church went to New York to help with Hurricane Sandy relief. Specifically, they served in the Rockaways, which is a district in NYC – Queens, partnering with the New York Dream Center in their efforts to provide relief and recovery support to the people of the Rockaways, one of the hardest hit areas of the storm. The team was able to talk with and help dozens of families and here is one of the stories about a veteran named Steve.

While the Woodlands Church team and the New York Dream Center team setup a makeshift distribution center where residents could get food, cleaning supplies, clothes, batteries, etc. (most shops and grocery stores are closed down), a person came through the line and mentioned that a neighbor, an elderly man, was in desperate need of help to clean out his house.

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The neighbor provided the WC team an address so they could go and talk with this man, named Steve, and Steve’s landlord about sending in some of our guys to help remove wet drywall, flooring, and damaged goods from his residence. Steve is in his late 70’s and a lifelong New Yorker who served our country in the Korean War.

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Steve with our disaster relief team.

The WC team could see that he was not capable of doing the work himself – and by the admission of his landlord who was cleaning six other units, a retail space, and basements, Steve was not “high on the priority list”.

Steve was quite shocked to find out that a group of five guys would be willing to come in, without his asking, and simply help do the dirty work that he was not capable of doing on his own. Within a few minutes, members of the Woodlands Church team was in his house, moving out damaged materials and possessions. They removed all the damaged flooring and all the wet drywall and insulation around the entire living space.

At the end of the team’s time there, as they were saying goodbye to Steve, the team noticed that this “old school” man, hardened by the military, was at a loss for words and was seemingly quite emotional that the WC team came to help. He managed to say thank you over and over, but was keeping his words few as he was visibly working on maintaining his composure.

The team noted that he was overly thankful for the help and the camaraderie of the team in his house as they worked. He could not fathom how the WC team came to know of his need, but was beyond thankful for their time and effort to help him do what he could not do for himself. As they left, the landlord pulled them aside and gave them an emotional thank you and reiterated his astonishment as to how we came to know the need of this little old man living by himself in a small apartment in the Rockaways.

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Thank you to all who have served others in relief after Hurricane Sandy whether you lent a hand or made a donation. I am so honored to serve alongside you, Woodlands Church.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2