St. Anselm College groups help areas affected by Hurricane Sandy
Justin Eckilson clears out a garage with other Saint Anselm students during a recent trip to New Jersey to help homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy. (COURTESY)
GOFFSTOWN - While most New Englanders have moved on since Hurricane Sandy's departure, those hit hardest in New Jersey and New York are still struggling to rebuild, and students at St. Anselm College recently visited the area to lend a hand.
According to a press release issued by the college, the Office of Campus Ministry organized two weekend service trips, including one to Manahawkin, N.J., where 17 students worked with a nonprofit volunteer organization, Jersey Cares, from Nov. 16 to 18.
Twenty-two students traveled to New York from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 to work with Gerristen Beach Cares in Brooklyn and Staten Island Recovers in Staten Island.
Student leaders from the campus organization Service and Solidarity led the weekend trips, which included 11 Knights of Columbus and a staff member.
One of those students, Justin Eckilson, a junior from Woonsocket, R.I., said the group did a lot of work with homeowners on Long Beach Island, N.J., helping them remove everything from drywall to appliances to personal items before some of the homes were razed.
"A lot of the houses along the water were ripped down to the beams," he said.
Eckilson said students weren't prepared for the level of devastation they witnessed just a few hundred miles from home, as they came upon cars that had been slammed into homes, houses filled with mud and debris that littered the entire area.
"There was a lot of structural damage," he said.
But what may have surprised the students even more was the attitude of the homeowners.
"You'd think the residents would have been discouraged, but they just said, it is what it is, and set about their plans to re-build," Eckilson said.
Residents welcomed the students with open arms and continually expressed their appreciation, Eckilson said, even making sure they were fed while they were there.
"They were so thrilled to have us, and so surprised at how far we'd come to help them," Sarah Haigh, a senior nursing major, said.
The trip gave students some perspective as well, Haigh said.
"We were very humbled," she said, noting that students were happy to have missed a day of classes because of the storm.
"A tree that had fallen on campus was the big to-do for us, but two weeks later, I'm driving through Holgate looking at all of the damage, and everybody in the van was just silent," Haigh said.
Haigh said the students formed a bond with the residents in the area and were even invited to come back during the summer to see the area restored.
Haigh said the students are exchanging Christmas cards with some of the homeowners they met and were glad to lend a hand.
"Doing service is always a great feeling, but these people were so heartbroken about their homes," she said. "It was nice to be a little shining light for them."
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Flash flood warning issued for Southern New Hampshire - 0
- Rare tornado touches down in Revere, Mass., no deaths reported - 0
- Severe weather strikes across Granite State - 0
- Restaurant foundation destabilized by high water raises Route 3 Bridge, downtown Colebrook flooding concerns - 0
- Winchester roads ravaged by heavy rain - 0
- Despite heavy rains, tornado warning, Nashua OK - 0
- Wild weather strikes Granite State - 0
- Perfect weather predicted for weekend events - 0
- NH braces for a soaker, flash floods as Arthur moves up coast - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester brothers arrested after drive-by shooting in Nashua - 0
- Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon - 0
- Headlight out leads to pot charges for Merrimack teen and her passenger - 0
- Betsy McCaughey: Congress should take the lead on Iraq - 2
- Another View - Rick Santorum: When Israel needs our help, we have to be there - 0
- Too much FahrvergnŘgen: Nashua man charged with indecent exposure while driving - 2
- Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Garcia to air her first TV ad - 0
- Boston Red Sox hammer Jays for seven runs in 11th, win 11-7 - 0
- NH Motor Speedway to again host two Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2015 - 0
Backyard boulder kills Raymond homeowner
Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help
Ohio's Rob Portman: GOP can win back Senate