News & Events

Ten from SHMS Help Sandy Victims
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Monika Young, Meena Abdelkodoos, Chris O'Brien, Kim Small ,Josie Tran, Maesoon Deeb, Dawn Maffucci, Rachel Kelly, Nicolas Santos, Ojirese Momoh
SHMS Sandy Volunteers
The Seton Hall community has launched several Hurricane Sandy relief initiatives to help people affected by the storm. One special group of ten from the Master of Science in Athletic Training Program from the School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) recently organized a trip to Oakwood Beach, Staten Island to assist the Guyon Rescue organization.

Guyon Rescue is a grassroots, volunteer, non-governmental organization providing immediate assistance to the families of Staten Island affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“We initially participated in the clothing drive sponsored by Athletics, but our students wanted to be more hands-on with the cleanup,” said Director of Clinical Education for the program, Dr. Christopher O’Brien.

Familiar with disaster cleanup after Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Ike in 2008, Dr. O’Brien, alongside staff volunteer Meena Abdelkodoos and faculty member Rachel Kelly, supervised the group of graduate students eager to help. They are Monika Young, Kim Small, Josie Tran, Maesoon Deeb, Dawn Maffucci, Nicolas Santos and Ojirese Momoh. For Kim Small, several close family members and friends directly affected by the storm surged an interest to work directly with cleanup and reconstruction.

“I live on the Jersey Shore and I have witnessed the damaging effects in my own hometown. Compared to natural disasters in the past, I live close enough to go and help personally rather than just donating materials,” she explained. “It was a chance for me to help make a difference during a hopeless time.”

The group handed out food and supplies like masks and working gloves. They also worked on demolition and cleaning out houses. Removing furniture, ripping up carpet, and throwing away clothes once submerged under eight-feet of water was most challenging said Dr. O’Brien.

“We were mindful of pictures and personal items found that could be salvaged,” he explains, “but nearly everything else was put on the side of the road for New York City Sanitation to pick up.”

Families who lived in the area either evacuated to the homes of family members or checked into hotels. For those with two-level homes, the second floor became a safe haven when their bottom floor flooded. Other homes close to the ocean were swept away with no remains.

“The most challenging moment was when a child ran up to me and said, ‘I used to live here,’” explained Ojirese Momoh. “All that was left of his house were front porch steps and an American flag.”

Momoh initially wanted to hug the child, but then realized he wasn't sad. “Children are often times in their own world and fortunately disasters like these don't affect them at an early age,” he said. “If we could all be kids again.”

Interactions with families passionate about rebuilding their homes and neighborhoods motivated Dr. O’Brien and his team of volunteers. Although the powerless streets forced the group to leave by sundown, the smiles on the faces of those around made for a bright and rewarding day of service.

For more information please contact:
Christopher O'Brien
(973) 275-2220


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