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Tue, 20 Sep 2005

County resources target storm victims - Newsday

NASSAU
County resources target storm victims
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BY MICHAEL ROTHFELD
STAFF WRITER
September 20, 2005

They braved rain, flooding and wind, traffic jams, health problems, missing relatives and more as they journeyed to safety after Hurricane Katrina hit.
Yesterday, eight New Orleans residents who wound up on Long Island found themselves telling their stories in front of a bank of television cameras, standing next to Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi.
"When I reached certain places, my heart was lifted that people cared," said Shirley George, 66, struggling not to cry as she spoke. "I thank God for giving people the heart to help one another."
At a news conference in Mineola, Suozzi announced an Adopt-a-Family program, appealing to county residents to sponsor a specific family left homeless by the hurricane by donating money that would help them find temporary housing through community groups and clergy.
County officials, who are working with some of an estimated 200 displaced people from New Orleans who came to Nassau on their own, are asking for donations of gift cards to stores that sell clothing and other essentials.
Suozzi, introducing "some new folks that have come up here to Nassau County who are from New Orleans," said "people in Nassau County have been overwhelmingly generous. There’s really been a wonderful outpouring of support."
The eight residents with Suozzi were relatives of Priscilla Curtis of Rockville Centre, who called her county legislator, Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) to get help in finding them temporary housing and other assistance. They are now staying in area motels and receiving aid from the Red Cross.
They told harrowing stories of their evacuations that involved hitching rides and borrowing money to buy gas.
"Good Samaritans gave me food and stuff for my baby," said Ivy Sanders, 26, holding her son, Kyros Roy, 18 months.
George said she had intended to stay in New Orleans, but then her building was evacuated. She left behind her medication, and she had to be hospitalized on the road when her blood pressure went too high. Her children are scattered around the country, and one son is missing.
Dana Brumfield, 33, formerly of the Bronx, said she’d received a warm welcome in New York with her son, Bryce, 1, and said her only regret was leaving "my other baby," her Honda Civic, in Lafayette, La.
Dorothy Anthony, 71, was a little bit shy about speaking before the cameras, but she did so with a toothless grin.
"I lost my teeth because I didn’t put ’em in my mouth that morning," she said. "Everybody wants me to talk."
Individuals who want to participate in the Adopt-a-Family program should call the Nassau Office of Housing and Homeless Services at 516-571-0351.


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