Volunteers from Habitat For Humanity Of Westchester used their prior experience in flooded areas to assist on Sunday with rebuilding efforts in the Rockaways section of Queens, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
From Breezy Point to other parts of the storm-damaged peninsula, local volunteers spent the day working on clean-up efforts.
Members from Habitat For Humanity Of Westchester helped build flood-proof and hurricane-proof homes on cement stanchions in Mamaroneck, N.Y., following destructive flooding in 2007.
In Queens, the group is now continuing similar work.
"In 2007 we coordinated a FEMA disaster where the same issues of flooding, rivers flooding. Hundreds of homes ended up with needs, sheet rock and mold and insulation. We came out with pumps," said Jim Killoran of Habitat for Humanity. "I brought 500 boxes of contractor bags, and it was like you gave people a million bucks, just to give that.
Some volunteers helped Thomas Farrell, whose one-story home in Roxbury looked like a war zone after about three feet of water flooded it.
"Everything was all over the place, the refrigerator which you just saw standing up, was on its back," said Farrell.
The walls and flooring were ruined and pieces could be removed by hand by cleaners.
Farrell hopes to rebuild, but first he has to gut the whole structure, so he was grateful for some help from Habitat for Humanity.
"These young people from Habitat have been fabulous," said Thomas Farrell, a Breezy Point homeowner. "There was a pile of stuff out there, must have been a couple of tons that they moved, non-stop."
Another structure getting help from Habitat For Humanity is the Christ Community Church in Breezy Point, which saw water cover its pulpit.
"Habitat For Humanity came in, 'Angels For Humanity' came in and stripped it out very quickly, so we have little mold, we've got electricity on," said Pauleen Ward Brown, a board member of Christ Community Church.
The church celebrated with a small service Sunday morning, and in return has offered Habitat For Humanity space to set up shop.
The organization plans to be in the borough for the long haul, until homes are rebuilt, stronger than before.
Habitat For Humanity will continue to be at its reconstruction center at Christ Community Church, located at Beach 208th Street and Rockaway Point Boulevard.
For information on how to volunteer or donate, visit HabitatWC.org.