Megan Markus

Equinox Staff

 

Julie Conlon

Student Life Editor

 

A branch down and a couple deep puddles. This was the scene in Keene when Sandy swept through several weeks ago. While Keene stayed wet and windy for a couple days, Sandy ripped her way through the east coast, causing devastating loss in New Jersey, New York and other East Coast states.

It has been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Sandy ran its course up the Northeastern coast, but the devastating effects of the storm have left an extraordinary impact on Keene State College students.

While KSC students enjoyed an unexpected Monday off, some students couldn’t help but worry about their families at home who were impacted by the hurricane, some of which are still suffering from storm tragedies.

Senior Jenna Fanelli, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., said she has called home to her family every day since Sandy hit.

Her parents’ home lost power, and relied on building small fires every night in their home to stay warm.

Fanelli said, “I was worried, I kept calling.”

According to Fanelli, her town has experienced a gas shortage, so the option of driving home with no where to fill her gas tank prevented her from seeing her parents.

She said, “I wanted to go home that weekend, but we were scared to come back because of the gas.”

So Fanelli waited out Sandy’s wrath in Keene, where the rest of her peers took the storm as an excuse to celebrate.

The senior explained she felt uncomfortable in Keene as her fellow peers welcomed Sandy, aware that her parents and sisters and brother back home were struggling.

She explained, “The day everybody was celebrating I wasn’t too excited.” Fanelli said she went to Cobblestone the Sunday evening the storm hit and said everyone was chanting for Sandy.

“It was upsetting,” she said. “Everyone was just thinking about drinking. It’s amazing that people were chanting for Sandy while people were severely hurt from it. I definitely wasn’t celebrating.”

Similarly junior Lisa Bryant said she was startled by the reactions of people around her.

Bryant, whose family is located in Centerport, Long Island, said she spent two days in Keene worrying about her family whom she had not heard from after the storm hit.

Bryant said her town was “one of the spots that got hit the worst,” and as of Monday, Nov. 12, two weeks after Sandy hit the East Coast, her family remained without power.

The junior said the fact that the storm made little to no impact in Keene almost led her to feel bad as she heard her family struggle in New Yrok.

She explained this lack of impact as the cause for students’ “ignorance” when it came to the storm.

She commented on the statuses on Facebook and tweets she saw on Twitter during the storm as her peers joked about the lack of weather.

“It’s so ignorant,” she said of the jokes and comments she saw posted, “I understand we were supposed to get hit, but some people just lost everything. Just because it didn’t happen here doesn’t mean it didn’t happen elsewhere.”

She said it was “sad” that people made “drinking games” out of the storm and students “took it so lightly.”

Similarly, KSC junior Enea Brotzman had no reason to celebrate Sandy as she worried for her parents in brother, who live in Milford, N.J.

Brotzman said Milford has been without power since the hurricane hit.

She explained her parents have been on a waiting list to get power back for what seems like “forever.”

Brotzman’s family’s struggles with Sandy didn’t end with their power outage. Brotzman’s brother, who resides in the Borough of Sea Bright, N.J., was affected far worse than her parents, according to the junior.

She said he was evacuated from his town and isn’t expected to get back home for at least seven weeks.

“His town was destroyed by a huge wave coming right through the town. A vault was hitting his apartment building so they all evacuated and waited in the bay. My brother actually ended up jumping in a boat and driving the boat somewhere safe in the middle of the hurricane,” Brotzman said.

New Jersey is a huge tourism spot for beaches during the summer time. Many small town locals make their living off of their businesses that thrive during the summer season and are considered to be ghost towns during the winter months. “All the Jersey beaches that we go to are down. I know a lot of people that love the Jersey Shore like Seaside – the pier is gone, all the rides and everything,” Brotzman continued.

Brotzman said she plans to head home for the extended Thanksgiving break and begin helping to restore her and her families’ hometowns as much as she can. Similar to Brotzman, sophomore Chris Madera who lives in Pleasantville, N.Y., his family is also still without power.

“There are so many trees down, the schools have been cancelled,” Madera said.

“My parents are doing good, my grandparents actually have power so they have been going there to take showers and stuff like that.” Madera hopes that within the next few days the power will go back on.

Madera is thankful that all his family lost was electricity.

“In a town nearby, North Salem [N.Y.], two kids died during the storm. A thirteen-year-old and an eleven-year-old were in their living room when a tree landed on their house.”

Senior Alyssa Bardinelli of Monroe, Conn. said she is thankful that the electricity is up and running at her house back home.

“My parents lost power for six days. Two days after the storm my dad returned to work, but my mom was off from work for the entire week because she works in the public school system. There was no power in the schools and there were power lines blocking the roads.”

Bardinelli’s parents went through a similar situation the previous year due to Hurricane Irene, which hit Connecticut pretty hard.

“My parents were really prepared for the storm. They froze a bunch of water and used the refrigerator as a cooler. They also used the grill to heat up water.”

As for entertainment Bardinelli’s parents made the best of the situation, “They went to their friends houses at night and went out to dinner a lot.”

From New Jersey to New York and Connecticut, the storm affected various families among the KSC community, some worse than others but all negatively. There are nearly eight million people without power, there are billions of dollars worth of damage done to the Northeast.

And to make matters worse, recent snow storms have led thousands more losing power.

Americans are coming together now more than ever to support their country during such a traumatic time. KSC can help, too. To help Hurricane Sandy victims, text “ABC” to 90999 and give a $10 donation to the Red Cross or go to their website www.redcross.org/abc to make a donation of any amount.

 

Megan Markus can be contacted at

mmarkus@keene-equinox.com

 

Julie Conlon can be contacted at

jconlon@keene-equinox.com

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