By Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite
49th Public Affairs Detachment (Airborne)
FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. (11/13/12) – Teamwork between Soldiers, Airmen, first responders and other government agencies helped aid Coney Island residents on Nov. 9.
The effort offered residents supplies and medical attention. It targeted residents in New York unable to leave their homes.
“We are going to go door-to-door, seeing if anybody needs food, medical assistance, water or anything that they might need,” said Army National Guard member Pvt. Joseph Chojnacki IV of Geneva, N.Y.
Chojnacki and fellow Army Guard members were on standby before the storm hit and was then activated and arrived to Fort Hamilton, N.Y., Oct. 31, 2012.
“Buildings were completely devastated,” said Chojnacki, of Buffalo.
“We were walking on what used to be regular streets,” he said. “It felt like we were walking at the beach, because of all the sand.”
But the Guard members weren’t the only ones who traveled hundreds of miles to help those affected by the storm.
Blake Graham, and Kiaya Perkins, Lafayette, Ind., natives, and first responders – medical personnel capable of providing basic life support – of the Prompt Ambulance Service in Lafayette, traveled more than 700 miles to support Hurricane Sandy relief operations.
Graham and Perkins are a few of more than 700 medical personnel working together to aid residents.
“Its great how everyone can come from everywhere and work together,” Graham said.
Others assisting with the relief efforts were Soldiers from the 101st Cavalry, Guardsmen of the 28th Military Police Company, Johnstown, Pa.; Airmen of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pittsburg, Pa., and members of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene [DOHMH].
Although the relief effort came prepared to assist those in need, the workforces were there to collect information from those needing other assistance not readily available, such as prescription refills and restoring power, heat or telephone communications.
“It’s [a] beautiful thing,” said Faina Goldreyer, a New York City resident whose car was flooded, and was left without a working telephone because of the storm.
At the time, more than 2,000 homes were reached by the relief effort and more than 10 residents needed medical care.
With many homes still out of power, water, food and telephone services, service members, first responders and other local government agencies will continue to seek people in need.
“I’m happy I’m here and able to help out,” said Army Guard member Spc. Zebadiah Mientkiewicz, a Fredonia, N.Y., native.
“All in all, we’re doing good stuff,” he said. “Doing the right thing.”