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PRESIDENT OBAMA BRIGHTENS SPIRITS ON STATEN ISLAND WHERE SOME LOST EVERYTHING TO SANDY (1496 hits)

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE, November 15, 2012 -- President Barack Obama's visit to a battered New Dorp Beach Thursday afternoon helped lift the spirits of residents as they worked to pick up the pieces of their homes and their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.


Outside Debbie Ingenito's Topping Street home stands a fir tree that had been knocked to the ground, hoisted up and decorated for Christmas. It, along with Ms. Ingenito, greeted the president Thursday.


"He gave me two hugs. Two hugs. He hugged me twice," she said. "That made me feel so humbled. So honored."


Her father, Robert Rasmussen, said the president was very sincere when he spoke with storm victims.


"He's a caring man. I can see that he's caring. It's not phony," Rasmussen said.
Mrs. Ingenito said she told the president a bit about what she's been going through.
"It's just so stressful," Ms. Ingenito said. "Because nothing is getting done quick enough."


Rasmussen said Obama's visit made people feel like somebody cared about what they were going through in New Dorp Beach - and Mrs. Ingenito said it brightened her day.
"He made me feel really good," she said.


Bruce Randall, 51, tried to describe to the president what his visit meant.


"You're leaving an aura through the neighborhood, and that's what we need," Randall, 51, said of the president.


Randall spoke with the president outside of his Cedar Grove Avenue home, which is missing its entire front.


"I thanked him for coming because I really think all the infrastructure is there," Randall said. "It's now putting it to good use."


The president even greeted his small dog, Maddy, who barked a bit and jumped on the president's leg.


"I know you're fierce," the president told the dog, Randall said.


Randall rode out the storm in his home, and told the president a little bit about his experience.


"It was looked at as either courageous or stupid, but either way we were going to stay," he said.


He wanted to guard his collection of tribal art, he said. He and his wife Amy donned life jackets and holed up in the attic as the home filled with water. They had a rubber boat ready to go if they water rose any higher.


Now he's struggling to figure out how to rebuild. His homeowner's insurance won't cover much of the damage, arguing its from surface water. But Randall said much of it wouldn't have happened if the wind hadn't blow his window out, turning his house into a churning washer machine.


"Unfortunately FEMA only helps to a certain dollar amount, and for some people it's just not enough," Randall said.


But so far he was happy with FEMA's work and the federal government's efforts. The president's message back was simple, Randall said.


"We're going to help," the president told Randall, he said.


Randall said he made sure to tell Obama he voted - saying a cohesive federal government was key in the aftermath of the storm.


"Despite all of this, we were ragged, but we made the effort to get out and vote - for him," Randall said.


From their attic, the Randalls called their neighbor, Dominic Traina, the night of the storm to tell him he'd lost part of his roof. An hour later, Randall called to say the front of the house had collapsed, Traina said.


Now, the home he and his wife Sheila shared for 42 years, where they raised four children, is a heap of wood and furniture and memories. After helping them search through it, the Traina's grandchildren, Maggie, 11 and Kate, 14, wrote letters to Obama.
The president wrote them one back, on a handsome piece of cardstock with the words "From the White House" printed on the bottom.


"Thanks for the letters - I'm going to help!" the president wrote, followed by his large signature.


"It's historic. New Dorp Beach, we've been here 46 years," Mrs. Traina said. "And I guess this is the most exciting thing that's happened."


Mrs. Traina said they've asked for help in the past with flooding - with a seawall project dating back to the 1970s. It was de-funded, she said, and never came to be. A park was build along the beach instead, taking down some trees. Now even more are gone thanks to the storm.


"Now we just about have an ocean view," she said. "And the whole beach has changed."


The Traina's were grateful for the president's visit.


"I'm just glad he showed up," Mr. Traina said. "He's down to earth. He felt the pain."
Posted By: Richard Kigel
Thursday, November 15th 2012 at 8:04PM
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Obama is my homeboy!!!
Thursday, November 15th 2012 at 9:35PM
Siebra Muhammad
Siebra--Soming from New Orleans, you are one of the few people who knows from experience what that kind of devastation is like. WE live on a small island--and it was on the coastal areas facing the ocean that was devastated by the storm surge where the sea rushed in and swelled to over eight feet.

Half the deaths due to Sandy came right here on SI--thousands of homes were destroyed.

I was pleased to see the President comforting that devastated family who lost their two young sons swept away right out of their mother's arms. That has to be one of the most tragic stories I have ever heard.

He gave us a huge boost just by coming here.
Friday, November 16th 2012 at 10:07AM
Richard Kigel
Irma--I will try to check it out.

Friday, November 16th 2012 at 10:08AM
Richard Kigel
(@Rich, I do believe Charles Blow came as colse to loosing it tonight on Anderson Cooper 360@Cnn that one can go to in public and still try to hide their personal feelings as an objective, opened minded public figure) (nup/ smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
@Rich what gets to me is the more ourpresident does his job as in trying to have compassion and protect the American citizens, all of it citizens, te more they seem to go out of their way to bring down anyone trying to help our president do his job as president. example,
\The right turning against their own the governor of NJ.

Yesterday Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word segment was a scathing report to Fox news on Fox news reports trying to say no one lost their jobs during sandy so why are they putting in for unemployment insurance what did they do QUIT!!! but Rich it does not start or stop with Fox it seem thepublic tends to over look that when a natural desaster from hurricane to earth quake to tarnado it also hit business as well an business that it no longer there or can't run is not going to be able to keep peoples working and off of the unemployment roles...

OUT OF CONTROL PRICES AT THE GAS PUMP DOES THE SAME THING (NUP)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
CHARLES BLOW WAS REACTING TO MARY MATLIN'S RIGHT-WINGER'S TALKING POINTS ABOUT OUR PRESIDENT GIVING BLACKS STUFF...AND HOW SHE COULD UNDERSAND CB's CONCERN...HE HAD TO FORCE COOPRE TO ALLOW HIM TO RESPOND OF WHICH HE BEGAN WITH, HE IS NOT 'CONCERNED' ABOUT THE BLACK COMMUNITY HE WAS A MEMBER OF TIS COMMUNITY...(SMILE)

ALL SHE COULD DO WAS SIT AND TRY TO PRETEND SHE WAS NOT THERE AND HAD NOT MADE THAT STATEMENT...
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
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