When Katie Coe and her teammates on the Hofstra equestrian team went to Long Beach last year to help in the cleanup efforts after Superstorm Sandy, little did they know that the first house they stepped into would belong to the family of a fellow Hofstra undergraduate.
Maureen Moran had been away from New York for 14 years when she and her two children returned in 2010 to live with her mother in Maureen’s childhood home on Connecticut Avenue. She was in her final semester at Hofstra, finishing up the college degree she had started 20 years earlier when Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012, flooding the house with more than five feet of water. They had just finished remodeling from Hurricane Irene damage a year earlier.
Now, one year later, Moran is renting a home in Long Beach so her daughter can graduate with her high school class next June, while her mother is living nearby in senior housing. Their house is still uninhabitable, and the family is hopeful they can take part in a state buyout program. Moran graduated last December with a degree in public relations. Katie Coe, who majored in business economics, graduated in May 2013.
“Katie and the other young women were angels,” said Moran, who was taking a final exam when her mother, Barbara Byrne, called to say that some Hofstra students had arrived to help clean out the house. “After the storm, I was numb and in shock. But when I heard what these girls were doing for us, it gave me a sense of hope.”
Coe estimates that the team of ten members, two alumni, and an assistant coach, spent more than 15 days’ worth of weekends and vacation time over several months gutting Sandy-ravaged homes in Long Beach, Island Park, and Breezy Point. Coe herself helped work on more than 20 homes. “That first day, I learned that it doesn’t take a superstar to make a difference and you don’t need to know what you’re doing,” she says. “As long as you start somewhere, you can surely make a difference for someone. I learned that by helping others, you will definitely help yourself.”
The equestrian team is just one of many Hofstra groups that assisted hard-hit communities. More than 200 student volunteers helped clear debris and delivered food and water to people in need, while a fund was established to help employees and students who suffered losses. In addition, supplies were collected, and a campus blood drive collected enough pints to help save 1,074 lives.
Also, Hofstra’s Department of Special Collections put together an exhibit “The Art of Destruction” with more than 300 donated photographs of the storm’s impact on Long Island. The exhibit, originally displayed in March 2013, is now available online.
We asked the Hofstra community where they were and what they were doing during Sandy. If you want to share your Sandy story go to the Hofstra Facebook Page. We will update this story throughout the day as we hear from you.