Photo and Story by Dick McGee
Standing beside the American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle, Lindenhurst resident Lori Madison seized the opportunity to tell her story one more time. This time it was a Red Cross volunteer accompanying the ERV who did the listening. “I’ve talked about this trauma so many times, but every time I seem to understand it a little better,” she said. And then she added emphatically, “We have lived here in this house since 1994, and we’ve been through several storms and hurricanes, but nothing, ever, like this one. This was absolutely overwhelming and devastating.”
Lori explained that the most stressful part of it all has been being bounced around from one place to the next for two weeks before finally being able to get back into part of her home. A contractor has restored electricity to the second floor, but, she explained, ”The bottom part still has some evidence of mold and moisture, and that’s a real problem because my son has asthma and allergies.” The family was put up in a hotel by FEMA, but only for one night. Then they tried staying with her parents for a brief time, but their house is too small to accommodate them. They moved in with friends, but unfortunately they had pets whose dander became an irritant to her son’s allergies. “Every place we’ve turned for lodging has presented a new problem,” she said with an appropriate level of resentment.
Then she was able to get back home and found nearly all of her clothes and other valuable possessions water logged, covered with mold, and destined only for the land fill. “It’s almost been too much,” she stated, acknowledging the obvious truth. But, she has lots of friends, and like she said, she is willing to go to them and talk it out. She readily accepted a suggestion that she encourage her son to do the same thing, so he could also practice coping with the awful reality of the moment. She was also glad to learn that the Red Cross Disaster Recovery service plan includes individual client services workers, whom she can contact through any of the Red Cross Shelters, and by calling the Mineola Regional Office of the Red Cross on Willis St. Lori was also reminded that the Red Cross has health nurses and mental health counselors who are there to lend yet one more understanding ear to her story.
“I’m certain that will help,” she said with a faint smile. “Everything else the Red Cross has done for us has been such a wonderful help.” There is still a mountain of stress to be overcome down the road, but the Madison family of Lindenhurst, has the desire to recover from Sandy, and a place to go to get started on that task.