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.
The Long Island region was brought to its knees by Superstorm Sandy. Disaster groups like NECHAMA came to our aid and lifted us up at a very devastating time not only showing us the ropes but also helping create the organizational teamwork necessary to address such large scale impact . NECHAMA's leadership and volunteers were professional and generous, motivating and kind, productive and sincere, efficient and compassionate--the complete package. They also welcomed local, unskilled talent to assist with relief and recovery work which helped toward community resiliency. We are forever in their debt. Diana O'Neill, Executive Director, Long Island Volunteer Center, an affiliate of HandsOn Network
I worked with a disaater response organizatiln that partnered with Nechama in responding to at least 4 disasters: Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York, flooding in St. Louis, and tornadoes in Washington, Illinois and Moore, Oklahoma. They are an excellent organization. They have wonderful staff and dedicated volunteers, and they get a lot of work done. They are caring, compassionate, unassuming individuals who are well trained and experienced in providing services to disaster survivors. Moreover, they are excellent partners, working well with other organizations to maximize the impact of their work.
After the devastation of Sandy we were very fortunate in working alongside such compassionate and professional people as this organization. I would say we were very fortunate and grateful to have them here to help us in our time of need
This organization was beyond helpful and resourceful to my clients during an extremely difficult time in their lives .. They gave them hope and helped them to rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives.. Even in the dead of winter, with no heat source , volunteers worked tirelessly to assist my clients ... I can't say enough about this organization, their volunteers and their workers..
A truly wonderful organization filled with dedicated hardworking people who care! I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to work along side of them during a local disaster.
Having worked in the recovery process after Hurricane Sandy on Long Island, New York, I can say that NECHAMA is true to its cause, giving comfort and aid selflessly to those who are unable to help themselves. The passion, spirit and dedication of the organization certainly gives residents a sense of hope during recovery, while fulfilling their mission through deeds of loving kindness.
I am the past Executive Director of Catholic United FinanciaL Foundation and the person responsible for starting Catholic United Response. Without the cooperation, friendship and leaderhip of the staff and board of NECHAMA we would not exist as another disaster response organization. I tell everyone our story of how we are modeled after NECHAMA and how they served as mentors, trainers and friends throughout the planning and development of our response team. We continue to seek their leadership and guidance as we know they are the BEST. I know as an organization they operate on a very tight budget and need not only your volunteer support but financial support.
I worked with NECHAMA during the TN Spring floods of 2010. They trained and provided leadership to over 80 AmeriCorps members from across the country. As the federal disaster coordinator directing these crews, I was constantly impressed with NECHAMA's want to serve the community. NECHAMA consistently followed through on committments to train, educate, lead, direct, and support volunteers in the field. Their focus on serving all residents in affected communities was always central to their work. Their coordination with other agencies and the quality of services they provided were second to none. Before I met Dan and NECHAMA I worked on the ground for 6 months post Hurricane Katrina, 2 months post Hurricane Ike and managed thousands of AmeriCorps teams on disaster from base for 5 years. The services NECHAMA provides are second to none. If you have the chance to work with them...do not pass it up!
I serve as the Assistant Director for The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services of Minnesota & North Dakota. I can say without a doubt, that the work of Nechama is nothing less than outstanding. You wouldn't know that they are a small agency with few resources, because they travel the entire country bringing relief and hope to those communities in need. I am proud of the work they do. Collaborating together, Nechama, The Salvation Army, and our other VOAD partners are able to solve complex problems to unforeseen challenges. When they are not responding to disasters, they are actively involved in training and other preparedness related activities with their government and non-government partners.
I first came to NECHAMA as an unwilling volunteer at the age of 16. Packed off on a deployment to St. Peter, MN in 1998, I actually had a horrible time. But some part of me must of loved it, because all through college I came back and back again. After college, I went to work for the organization and spent 5 years with them. I've now engaged with NECHAMA as a volunteer, an employee, a donor, and now as a partner in the field of disaster response/emergency management and there are few organizations that make such an impact. Foremost in my mind is NECHAMA's focus on the mission: providing comfort to disaster survivors. They have been flexible in the field, always pivoting to meet the needs they see. They have been a critical part of disaster response in the upper midwest, and a key partner to the other organizations and government agencies they have worked with. And finally, for me, they were a critical connection to a Judaism that I hadn't mattered to me before I worked with them. Today, I am a disaster response/emergency management professional and a Jew because of NECHAMA.