Photo and story by Dick McGee
“How are your children doing?” a neighbor asks Eric Law, as they assemble around the service window of an American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle. Eric is one of the Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY residents who have taken a break from stripping the sheet rock out of his living room to get a hot meal from the Red Cross ERV.
Eric’s family is scattered around the town of Lindenhurst, and although he sees them each day, they haven’t really been together since Superstorm Sandy roared ashore more than two weeks ago. Eric and his wife have five children, ages 10, 8, 3, 2, and 1 year. They are, by far, his most pressing concern. The family heeded the evacuation notices and left their home near the shoreline in advance of the storm surge that sent four feet of seawater into their living room. As they began to plan for their recovery, the two older children went to stay with Eric’s parents. His wife took the two youngest with her to a good friend’s house, and Eric took one with him to his stay with a good buddy who had space.
“The older kids are just bewildered, and don’t understand what happened”, Eric reported, to answer his neighbor’s inquiry. “Fortunately, my aunt is a counselor at a mental health facility, and they have been over there to talk to people. She suggested they draw pictures of what they imagined happened when Sandy hit, and that has helped them express their feelings, and come to grips with their fears. It has really helped them calm down.”
Eric was generous in his praise of the Red Cross for bringing hot meals by twice each day, and for setting up the bulk distribution sites. “I have really made use of these services.” he said, “and I’m so thankful for all the Red Cross is doing for us.”
Eric does construction work for a living, and specializes in remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, so it is just another day at work repairing his own home. His employer gave him a month’s leave to focus full attention on his own problems, and the owner of his rented house has promised to pay him for making the repairs by decreasing the rent for a few months. “I really feel like I’m getting a big break a lot of other people don’t have,” he said thoughtfully. “When I can just get my family back together again, I’m sure we’re going to make it.”