For nearly two weeks, when they weren't clearing trees and restoring power in the aftermath of Sandy, 16 arborists from Florida and several LIPA workers considered VFW Post 1819 in Manorhaven their home base. There, they found somewhere warm to sleep, shower, eat and even watch television after putting in a long day's work.
Post Commander John Chalker told Patch how local veterans and also their spouses helped.
"I was approached by Mayor [Giovanna] Giunta who told me they didn't have winter clothing and a place to stay," Chalker said of the workers.
When a member suggested the Post, Chalker noted that they had always planned to use it as a place to stay in an emergency.
Giunta, he said, "was instrumental in getting debris removed" so that the workers could get into the Post safely. "She did a fantastic job with that," he added.
Veterans secured cots and blankets from the Town of North Hempstead, and purchased pillows for the work crew, Chalker said. Spouses checked in during the evenings to make sure the crews had what they needed.
"We made them as comfortable as we could," Chalker said.
On Thursday, at the Manorhaven Village meeting, Giunta presented a commendation to the members of the Manorhaven Chapter 1819 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for their contributions to the community during and after Sandy.
In a statement read during the meeting Trustee Lucretia Steele said, “The troop was instrumental in providing a special service to the community during Sandy. They opened the VFW Hall to provide sleeping quarters to LIPA crew members who had been sleeping in their trucks and a volunteer crew from Florida. They also organized an impromptu clothing drive to provide appropriate clothing to the Florida volunteers."
For their part, the veterans seemed to view their effort as community helping community.
"They worked very hard," Chalker said of the work crews.
Adina Genn contributed to the reporting.