Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

When people ask where I’m from, I most often say, “I’m just a kid from the Rockaway’s.” This used to evoke a querulous “Where?” But no longer.

Unfortunately, the Rockaway’s are recently famous, but not for the charm and fun I knew riding my bike on the boardwalk on a brisk winter’s day from Beach 27th street to the eighties. That was long ago before Hurricane Sandy did to the Rockaway’s what Katrina did to New Orleans. Now the Rockaway boardwalk is in shambles, the beaches are eroded, and my friend Jim Killoran, CEO of Habitat for Humanities, tells us, “It is the housing disaster of our time.”

Tonight at ArtsWestchester, we’ll try to raise some funds for Habitat at the opening reception for Hurricane Sandy: Through the Lens of Local Photographers, an exhibition of the work of 59 photographers, who collectively documented the storm and its aftermath in all parts of our region.  These are extraordinary portraits of nature’s wrath and the healing power of people, especially first responders. There were lots of heroes in this disaster but Jim Killoran goes to the top of my list.  Getting his on-the-job experience with volunteers in Hurricane Katrina and the 2007 floods in Mamaroneck, Jim led Habitat to the Rockaway’s where the team has registered more than 700 families, gutted 250 homes, delivered sheetrock and insulation to more than 100 homes, and is finishing renovations on ten of them. This is one of those exhibitions where you walk out and say to yourself: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

The exhibition will continue through April 27. Visit www.artsw.org/sandy for more information. Click here to donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Westchester Chapter.

To view more photo submissions, visit our Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artswestchester/sets/72157632762199044/.

 Photo by Peter Carr

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