It's a difficult to understand disasters and the aftermath. We see them on cable stations and our local news stations. Homes that are ripped from foundations in tornadoes, buildings bought to rubble in earthquakes, tsunamis that roar through villages leaving death tolls that become just a figure. That is till you're in one. Pictures don't show the smell of mold and tears of many too proud to realize that our lives are forever imprinted with a nightmare.My name is Liz Treston, I live in Long Beach, NY. October 29, 2012 seems so distant for many that did not have the Atlantic come surging through it's city and front door. We were lost, devastated by the sheer destruction. We're also stereotypical New Yorkers. We wanted things fixed and back to normal the next day. We were in for a sad awakening.I don't know how we met. I was helping my neighbors gather information from disaster relief groups. There were many names. There are many souls upon this planet given a calling that says I refuse to let others give up. There will be hope and a tomorrow.My hope and a number of souls came to City, in a white van with NECHAMA written on the side. My family was assessing our damage. It was cold. We were lucky in many ways no one was hurt. The van stopped at my house. I was expecting another offer a water and a meal as I protected myself in a cocoon of uncertainty."We're here to help", said a young man. His face clean shaven and his hands with recent callouses. "Think we're okay". I knew their were others who were in worse shape then myself. When you're in the thick of the guts of your house laying in the street you don't think clearly. You worry about others. Maybe this man saw my soul. He slipped me a card and said to call when I was ready. I gave him the names of neighbors that I knew needed more help.That's what happens. You see kindness and a glimmer of a sense that things will be okay.In a few months it will be 4 years since Superstorm Sandy slid up from the South and stole out houses. It never stole our souls though because of the men and women from places that come to post disaster areas like NECHAMA.I hope that you can give to this incredible selfless group. You truly never know when a disaster will come. I am glad to know that when the water recedes NECHAMA will be there for you. When the water did recede in Long Beach I became an active member in learning and disseminating information. With the guidance of Dorothy Maples and others from the Long Term Recovery Groups we started our own non-profit to help our residents prepare for future emergencies. Again without NECHAMA and it's continuous efforts across boundaries and borders too many souls will feel lost. Help them let those in disaster areas find their way home.
NECHAMA helped our non-profit when our area was hit by a severe tornado-like storm. We called and they were there at dawn with chainsaws and skilled volunteers, clearing our road and helping us put our facility back in working order so we could open the doors to our clients. They are well-organized and easy to work with.
NECHAMA is one of the world's best kept secrets that should get out. As victims of the RI floods of 2010, we were,for the first time in our lives, on the receiving, instead of the giving, end of disaster relief. To say we were overwhelmed and shocked with the 12" of water that kept seeping into our finished basement, as a result of the freak flood, is putting it mildly. Along came Dan Hoeft and his crew, who knew just what to do and came prepared with every pump, tool, and even cleaning supplies to get us on the road to recovery. They worked tirelessly for two days at my house and came back the next day and helped my neighbor. I praise their skill, compassion, and advice and am so thankful for their help. What a smooth non-profit organization they are!
Last April, we were out of town when we received a phone call asking if we were ok. A tornado had gone through our back yard and we didn't know if we had anything left. It wasn't until the next morning that I got home to see that our house was still standing, although very difficult to see under all the fallen trees. The tornado had picked up the woods at the back of our yard and dropped them on our house and our yard had disappeared under the tangled pile of fallen trees that was taller than our house. A few days later, the people from Nechama came knocking on our door, asking if they could help. They spent several days working in less than ideal conditions. While it was warm when the tornado came through, the typical Wisconsin weather returned and they worked through the cold and snow to clear our yard and our house of debris. Without their help, I don't know how long it would have taken us to get everything back to normal. This organization did so much for us and for our neighborhood in the weeks after the tornado. I can't begin to describe how wonderful they were for all of us!
The group that came from New Jersey did a very good job helping us to restore our small country church in SE MN. They helped scrape paint, clean up the yard. I enjoyed working with the young people that came, they were courteous, full of energy and even though they were Jewish, they didn't mind working on a Christian Church.
I am the pastor of a small rural church in SE MN. This historic building had suffered water damage a few years before we came to serve there. We contacted Dan at Nechama to see if there was any break in their busy schedule to help us. Nechama has the expertise to do this kind of work, and the equipment to get it done. So a small crew from Nechama came and cleaned and gutted out the church basement in just two days. I and my family learned a lot as we worked along side Nechama. A month later after the severe flooding in two neighboring communities, we were able to work alongside Nechame with an Americorp team in the town of Hammond MN. It is great to work with a group that knows what they are doing.