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Getting back to normal from Superstorm Sandy

Bronx Times

Dawn Martinez’s two young children are finally sleeping in their own beds again.

Hurricane Sandy took care of their old beds, flooding out their downstairs rental apartment in Locust Point, just below the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Several fellow neighbors along Tierney Place where Martinez lives also suffered major damage when the storm pushed the waters of Eastchester Bay over the seawall behind houses on the south side of the block, flooding local streets, basements and ground floors of homes there.

Martinez, who had to move with her son Xavier, 12, and daughter Destiny, 9, upstairs to her parents’ rental apartment, said that when she walked into her apartment the morning after the storm “everything was broken and floating. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I just started to cry. Everything was gone.”

With three feet of water flooding in, she said everything - walls, floors - had to be replaced “from scratch.”

Martinez, who had no renters insurance, found two Good Samaritans in state Senator Jeff Klein and Eric Stechler, owner of Corner Furniture on White Plains Road in Allerton, who arrived outside her place on Friday, Nov. 30.

Stekler brought his furniture truck, loaded with two brand new captain’s beds and mattresses, a dinette set and other furniture to help make Dawn’s now cleaned up - basically renovated - apartment a real home again.

One of Klein’s staffers, Mike Grubiak, was a fellow classmate with Stechler and reached out to him for help, which Szechler did more than willingly.

“This opportunity came up, and we were more than happy to do it,” said Stechler.

Klein was also out on Tierney Place right after the storm, bringing a city Sanitation truck and crew with him to help clean up the debris that floated onto the residential street from the storm.

He’s been working with the residents since to help get them back on their feet.

Besides helping them wade through a ton of red tape with their insurance companies, he’s been reaching out for donations of furniture and whatever else the local residents need.

“Thank God we haven’t had the same problems as other areas in our city. But at the same time, furniture was destroyed, homes were destroyed, and now a lot of the work that I’m doing is trying to help people get their lives back on track,” said Klein.

“We’ve been dealing with insurance issues almost every day,” he continued. “Sure enough, people have paid their insurance premiums - as they should - now insurance companies unfortunately don’t want to pay up. So we’ve been spending a lot of time with the state Department of Financial Services and really fighting the insurance companies to make sure they pay claims.”

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