Lori Mould's everyday life!

Disasters bring hard decisions… October 23, 2013

We took a short break during lunch today to drive through some of the hardest hit areas on Staten Island such as: Midland Beach, Ocean Breeze, New Dorp Beach, and Oakwood Beach.  There is evidence all around us which makes my heart ache for the people in this borough.  The now gentle waves of the Atlantic can be seen from a depopulated neighborhood in Oakwood beach as I stop my vehicle to take pictures of a tire swing gently twisting in the breeze.  Only a few feet from the swing is a concrete slab were there was once a home and a child that played in this yard that is now strewn with random debris that have been left here by Sandy.  The seagrasses tower over the pads, pools, and stairs that lead to nowhere!  And the smell that follows a hurricane lingers thick in the air.  It is heart wrenching to be deep in a neighborhood and not hear any sounds…

The Oakwood Beach neighborhood is a low-laying area that is surrounded by swampland and New York Governor Cuomo has designated the homeowners here to be the first neighborhood in line for a state-sponsored home buyout.  

“Let’s also recognize that there are some places that Mother Nature owns,” Cuomo told the audience at the College of Staten Island. “She may only come to visit every two years or three years or four years. But when she comes to visit, she reclaims the site…I want to be there for people and communities who want to say, ‘I’m going to give this parcel back to Mother Nature.'”

More on this plan later…

 

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Staten Island-the quintessential borough

I am not sure about any of you but until Sandy made landfall  I did not realize that the borough of Staten Island is actually considered to be part of NYC.  After the storm, many of the residents felt that their situation was overshadowed by its sister boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Not long after the storm MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell shined a light on this quieter part of New York City on the Rewrite segment on The Last Word:

“To see Staten Island-all of it-would be to rewrite your understanding of NYC.  It is the place in NYC where wild deer run across roadways.  It is not the New York you know.  It is a place apart from NYC, five miles over the water on the ferry from Manhattan-and, in many ways, it might as well be a world away.  Staten Island has almost everything that the rest of NYC has except skyscrapers. But it has much more.

Wherever you live in American, Staten Island has a street that looks like a street in your town.  Rich-looking, suburban streets with mansions, small town streets with handsome, humble homes that families hold onto for generations.  If you got lost in the middles of the island, you could be in a spot that you might mistake for Vermont or West Virginia.  It is America’s biggest small town.”

I have been on Staten Island since Sunday and I can say that I have felt welcomed by everyone! I am excited and happy to have been a part of the post-Sandy Rebuilding Effort. More to come…

 

Sandy Rebuilding: Let our journey begin! October 21, 2013

I am laying here in the dark watching the lights of an airplane pass by the window and I find my thoughts drifting to these days’ events. I am looking forward to introducing our #SUNY Empire State College students to the amazing feeling of volunteerism by ‘giving a hand up and not a hand out.’ We are in Staten Island to work with the Episcopal Diocese of New York Disaster Response in Sandy Rebuilding. There is something very satisfying in knowing that with each hour of time we dedicate to this effort a family is that much closer to being able to go home.

I find myself reflecting on how fast any disaster can strike each of us and how fortunate I am because I have not had to deal with this type of circumstance. I cannot fathom what it feels like to not be able to walk across the threshold of my home especially with the holidays fast approaching. The classic line, “Home is where the heart is” truly does test the theory that one must work to adapt during our most difficult and trying times.Those feelings are what drive me to reach out to those wonderful folks that are waiting to go home.

I am excited to get started and 8:30 am cannot get here fast enough!