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SPECIAL SANDY EDITION 

     
TM
 

 

   

Our Class Newsletter


A Special Report on the Effects of

Hurricane Sandy on Our Hometown, the

Status of the Relief/Recovery Efforts and Our Appeal for Help from Our 1960 Sailors   

  

UPDATE: July 5, 2013

  

Last month, our class Association's board of directors met in New York and obtained a status report from Bob Transom, president of Oceanside Community Service, Inc. (OCS), who. together with its other volunteers, tirelessly led the Sandy relief/recovery effort in our hometown. We learned that even over seven months after Sandy, conditions in Oceanside remain far worse than we thought.

Following is my summary of Bob's report:

Driving up and down Oceanside Road, Long Beach Road and Lawson Blvd., one sees evidence of lost trees and store fronts boarded up. (I witnessed this firsthand, and I also saw many dumpsters and other trash accumulations on front lawns, when I personally toured Oceanside on June 15th.) Bob said South Derby Drive, where most homeowners had no flood insurance, was particularly hard hit. Although most homes in the southeastern, southern and the western sections of town (where most of the storm damage was done) look good on the outside, "the look is deceiving." An estimated 300-400 homes are still less than 50% reconstructed with many first floor interiors still gutted and only rough wiring installed. Some of the occupants are living on upper floors, with bedrooms now temporarily converted to kitchens, offices and entertainment space.

Most of the recovery delays are attributable to slow insurance claim reimbursement and institutional lenders holding back money until work is complete. Although FEMA has stepped in, the bureaucracy is slow and tedious (but coordination is getting much better now). And because of the apartment and housing shortage caused by the storm, over 290 school kids that were displaced from their Oceanside homes are still being housed temporarily in other communities, and the Oceanside School District is reimbursing the other Districts for the costs.

Bob reported that the people of Oceanside continue to be strong "neighbor helping neighbor." Random acts of kindness abound. A lot of the “bull” work was done by the high school teams and clubs during the initial rip out and carry out. They continue today helping the older folks whom they helped during the tougher times when the lights and heat were out. Frozen food was stored in freezers at the Mary Brennan Soup Kitchen, and it went to those who had no food. And South Nassau Community Hospital's "Project Hope" program has been helping people cope with the day-to-day struggles they face.

Schools 9M and 9E (the middle and elementary schools housed together in the building in the southernmost part of town originally built in the 1960s as Boardman Jr. High) have been repaired with the exception of certain cabinets expected in August. Exterior park structures not covered by insurance are still in ruin. The 9M portables are to be demolished, and FEMA is expected to help finance a new building to house old records being preserved and to replace lost storage equipment.

After attending classes elsewhere in town, the students of School # 8 (which was closed for two months after Sandy) returned to their home school on January 2nd but then operated for four months with a portable boiler room on the front lawn. The CEO of Disney Corp., Robert Iger (OHS '69) attended School # 8 as a child and arranged to replace its exterior playground equipment that was destroyed.

It is apparent from Bob Transom's report that more help is still needed back home, and our board of directors agreed to ask our members for more support in connection with our annual voluntary dues campaign that starts now. Click here to find out how you can help.
  

UPDATE: January 9, 2012

 

For your information, we  collected and passed on, or donated from our treasury, a total in excess of $4,100 (92% from our 1960 classmates) for the Sandy victims in Oceanside!  In addition, we know that many donations that
were made directly to
Oceanside Community Service, Inc. (OCS) for the Sandy relief/recovery effort were, in fact, inspired by our efforts, but since we did not process these, we are unable to account for them.

Today, I received a message from Bob Transom, president of OCS, that started with, "First, thank you for the yeoman’s effort put forth by you and the Class of 1960!  The town will really put it to good use."  Bob went on to report that OCS is distributing assistance in such a manner that they know they are addressing the needs they can
best meet and will reach the most people. Primarily, rather than cash, they are providing residents with gift cards from major retailers (for example, Home Depot, Kohl's, CVS, Stop & Shop, Target and Walmart). They are also considering purchasing appliances directly for underinsured and needy families.

We really showed our blue and white, and we are so proud to be Sailors ─ and to be a
part of these efforts
!!

   

UPDATE: December 30, 2012

   

Item 1. Students of the Oceanside High School in Oceanside, California, (known as "the Pirates") prepared digital slideshows containing their heartfelt words and images of encouragement for the current Sailors of our OHS, their newly designated "sister school," and posted them online along with the following message:

Ahoy OHS NY Sailors                                                                            

From across the continent we send our very best greetings and hope you all have
a much better New Year!

The images they created convey caring sentiments that are among the most remarkable, heartwarming and inspiring
I have ever seen.:

You can view most of the images on Facebook. (Click on any of the thumbnail images to enlarge; then proceed by clicking on ">" or "<" to view the others.)

                                                                                      Digital Studio Classes                       
Or click on these links to view them all:
 Period 1  Period 3  Period 4  Period 5  Period 6  Band
(Pause frequently to read the messages.)

And here you can view the YouTube video response from our young Sailors.

We are honored and proud that many of the images used in the slideshow messages prepared by the OHS California  Pirates were obviously derived from our class website.

Item 2. Journalist and OHS alumnus, Stephen Robert Morse, wrote an interesting article in the Huffington Post entitled, "My Hometown's Recovery From Sandy Has Been Lackluster, But It Could Have Been Better," in which
he compare the effectiveness of the Sandy relief efforts in Long Beach to those in Oceanside and proposes that, despite the valiant efforts of dedicated volunteers, Oceanside would have been far better of had it been an incorporated village. The article can be seen at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-robert-morse/hurricane-sandy-oceanside_b_2366653.html.

Item 3. In an article by Alex Costello in its December 30th edition (http://www.liherald.com/oceanside/), the Oceanside Herald collectively honored all the fire department members and other volunteers who helped in the relief efforts in Oceanside and Island Park as its "People of the Year." "Bob Transom and the Oceanside Community Service worked tirelessly to feed the needy, which comprised a large majority of the town." Also honored were Dr. Herb Brown, Superintendent of Schools and the many teachers, principals and other school staff and Sanitary District workers, all of whom, like the volunteer firemen, "went above and beyond."

UPDATE: December 16, 2012

As we told community leaders in November, "we want everyone who now lives in Oceanside to know that the heart of the OHS class of 1960 is still beatin' and that we still care." In response, we received an e-mail message from Dr. Herb Brown, Oceanside Superintendent of Schools, in which he expressed his gratitude to our class by saying, "We will survive and become stronger because of people like you." Bob Transom, President of OCS, wrote, "the Sailors Class of '60 are the best. We are holding strong and remain as one," to which we responded, "Our memories are a powerful bond. Yours are, too."

   

A lifelong local resident, Margaret Backus, wrote the following in a message addressed to our class:

 

"To the Class of 1960,

  

"I came across your 1960 page tonight when on Facebook, and looking at the Oceanside Sandy Recovery Page [Facebook Oceanside, NY Hurricane Sandy Updates]. It first caught my eye, because I was born in 1960. Then as I scrolled down, I saw how much so many former OHS graduates care about our wonderful community from so far away. I was so touched! I, too, graduated from OHS in 1978. My oldest daughter will be graduating this June 2013, and I have a younger daughter that will graduate June 2015.  ... I have so many wonderful memories, and I know my daughter cherishes her time in the Oceanside School District.  ... The continued sense of community that has been so everlasting is helping many of these kids like my daughter get through this devastating time. To see what all of you are doing has really touched me, and I just wanted to reach out and say THANK YOU! Today,  while at the high school, I saw people from all walks of life joining for a Thanksgiving Dinner, and all seeming to want the same thing  to put our beautiful community back together again. We all cannot thank you enough for wanting the very same thing, even though many of you are long gone. I don't know any of you, but you will forever be in my prayers as that wonderful group that pulled together when that mean girl, Sandy, popped into our lives.

   

"... when I spread the word about people like you, I can see how it makes them feel like they are not forgotten. So many of my friends have been greatly affected, and many of my children's friends. Many are so confused, and just can't seem to understand it all. A group like yours gives people that strength to keep fighting, that support that keeps them hanging on, and that bond that has and will always be Oceanside  a true community  as it was in 1960, in 1978, 2012  and as it will be in the future! You are all our little group of angels hovering over us and making us feel loved and protected, during times that still seem unimaginable. So thank you again, and know that you are all very greatly appreciated!

  

"All the best of happiness and good health to you and your families. May you all be as blessed in your lives as we are to have you in ours!

  

It is no coincidence that "unity" is the biggest part of "community."

  

We were advised this week that things are settling down in Oceanside, and although many are living in temporary quarters, its residents are beginning to return to work. As a result, there is now a severe shortage of available volunteers to continue the relief and recovery work. Accordingly, if any readers of this live nearby and are available to assist as a volunteer, please call OCS President, Bob Transom, at 516/208-5991, or e-mail him at rtransom@optonline.net.

Dr. Herb Brown was interviewed on WNYC public radio on November 21, 2012, about Oceanside's progress to
date in its recovery
from Sandy's devastation. Click here to hear the 5-minute audio clip.

  

OUR ORIGINAL REPORT and APPEAL FOR SUPPORT: November 12 (as revised, November 17), 2012

   

There are many videos online showing the horrendous effects of superstorm Sandy on Long Beach, where the destruction was even more severe that in the surrounding areasThis one, however, is focused on Oceanside and, nevertheless, will tear your heart out:
    
       
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7W9YXb4H50&sns=em

Take a look. It is an appeal for help ─ not for donations to the American Red Cross but rather for money that will
go directly (and 100%) to benefit the people of
OceansideI was quite moved by it ─ and this page is the result.

Many of you will recall the devastating effects on Oceanside of Hurricane Donna in September 1960, shortly after we graduated. Gusts reached up to 90 miles per hour, houses were damaged, cellars flooded, trees and shrubs uprooted, and people were rowing boats down Windsor Parkway, Mott St. and others. The junior high school was used as a shelter. Well, Sandy was far worse. And this time, it appears that our little town has been completely disabled, and the recovery will take a long time.

"Debris litters the streets: tree limbs and entire trees, shingles and entire roofs, windows, boats, power lines and more"  the Oceanside Herald reported on October 30th.1 And according to a November 17th report in USA Today,  people "couldn't keep water and sewage from swamping their homes ... save their cars from corrosive saltwater ... [or] get electricity turned back on ... flooded basement[s had to be] treated for mold and bacteria," and the psychological toll on the residents has been severe. One resident said, "People are so depressed ... [t]hey have no homes and no cars and walk around saying 'What do we do?'"2

A small sample of images from the video and other sources follows. These heartbreaking images do not come close to showing the extent of the damage:

 
  

     

 
  

 
  

  

 
  

 
 

 
   

 

The clean-up began.

  And then came the "nor'easter"6" of snow on top of it all.

To make matters worse, Oceanside was virtually ignored by the national mediathe Red Cross, FEMA and other relief organizations, the Nassau County Police Department (no protection) ─ and especially by LIPA (the power company, now under investigation ─ the COO resigned). Watch this November 9th WPIX11 news video; it will shock you (you must wait first through the 30-second commercial):

http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91044&sitesection=wpix&VID=23883851

"Our community has come together as it always does, in an amazing show of community spirit," said Herb Brown, Oceanside's Superintendent of Schools, as reported November 9th in the Herald.. "This is a disaster beyond the scope of anything our community has ever dealt with. Families are suffering in cold, dark homes."3

Oceanside Community Service, Inc. (OCS), an organization formed in 1949 by Dr. Walter S. Boardman that is staffed entirely by volunteers, is leading the relief and recovery effort, and Sandy has been its largest challenge in its 63-year history. But local community spirit and volunteer service isn't nearly enough. OCS is seeking additional volunteers and financial assistance to benefit our hometown community directly. These efforts are needed since any available emergency funds and other resources that might now be forthcoming from the Red Cross, FEMA and/or other relief organizations necessarily must be diluted among the many other victimized communities whose voices are louder.

Among other values we learned during our time at OHS, we were taught the value of community service:

“Watching Oceanside in action has taught us how a good community
should function. We cannot help but be better citizens for it.”

            ─ From the valedictory speech by our classmate,
Gerda Balding (now Kunkel), June 26, 1960

As far as we know, 1960 is the only OHS class that has an organized, active alumni association such as ours. And our Board of Directors believes community service is consistent with our mission ─ moreover, we remember where we came from. If those of us old Sailors who are rooted in a historical and emotional connection to our little town don't help, we asked who will?

So our Board has come together on an emergency basis, allocated a substantial majority ($1,000) of our small treasury to this cause, and authorized this appeal for additional support from our members, other Sailors (we have contacted representatives of other OHS classes) and people who just love Oceanside.

Actually, we were surprised and gratified to learn that some much needed help for our hometown community is coming from across the country from the people of Oceanside, California, through its Chamber of Commerce. Check out this video aired and posted online November 9th by the San Diego NBC affiliate (you'll have to wait for another brief commercial first):

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Oceanside-Helps-East-Coast-Hurricane-Victims/178281271

To see a sample of typical thank you notes sent by Oceanside residents to the Oceanside, California, Chamber of Commerce, go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4lymhl1i2g

  

Our class Association's Board of Directors extends our warmest wishes and our hopes and prayers to all those who live or have family members in Oceanside, elsewhere on Long Island, the Rockaways, Staten Island, the Jersey shore, Connecticut, and/or other affected areas, that all of you have avoided serious injury or damage, that you will recover from the effects of this tragic storm with a minimum of disruption to your lives, and that you all were able to fully enjoy the 2012 holiday season with your loved ones.

  

Very sincerely,

_____________

1.  Selected Oceanside Herald reports:

2.  USA Today, November 17, 2102, "Sandy Hits Victims Hard Emotionally

3.  Oceanside Herald, see footnote 1.

 

 

Copyright 2012-2013 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc.  All rights reserved.