, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 2, 2013

A selfless gift

Cousins spend holidays aiding hurricane recovery


Don Beaulieu said not only was he proud of his daughter’s generous heart, but it was nice to hear that she actually listened to what he and her mother had taught her as she was growing up.

But Beaulieu still needed to get word from NECHAMA that her offer to help was accepted. That call came about 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve when she was notified she was needed the day after Christmas in New York.

By 6:45 a.m. on Dec. 26, while many were still getting over the hustle and bustle of the holiday, Beaulieu and her cousin were driving to New York. Just before 11 a.m., they reached the home they would work on in Long Beach, Long Island, which was hit hard by the super storm.

“You drive over a bridge to get to Long Beach,” Beaulieu said. “Before we cross it, Dylan and I were looking around and it didn’t look so bad. But when we crossed the bridge, we could see all the debris in front of almost every house. There were piles everywhere.”

The home they were assigned to was not far from water on three sides, she said. When Sandy roared through, bringing enormous storm surges, the waters rose, flooding the home’s interior. They worked with other NECHAMA volunteers to remove all the soaked areas from the two-bedroom home she believed belonged to an elderly resident.

“All the rugs and floors and appliances had to come out,” Beaulieu said. “And we were to tear out the lower 4 feet of sheetrock on all the walls.”

Then everything had to be carted outside and piled along the sidewalk, where tons of debris from other homes rested.

“We worked with another man and his 12-year-old son who lived about 10 minutes away,” she said. “He had a basement, which was where the water flooded. The home where we were working didn’t have a basement, so the water flooded the house.

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