For forty years, Joe’s Appliances on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge has been giving back to the community. So, when owner Arline Lewis saw what Superstorm Sandy did to so many of her customers, she jumped at the chance to help.
“I live in Seaford Long Island and only had the power out for two days. I said,well we are so blessed, let’s do something for somebody else,” said Lewis.
That somebody else, Lewis decided, would be the first Breezy Point storm victim to walk into her store.
Enter: Walter Connolly.
“My wife was crying for three days,” said Connolly, 67.
While Walter and his wife were fortunate the fire that burned down more than a hundred homes in Breezy Point, stopped just short of their home, the damage was still devastating.
“The first floor of my house was destroyed. The kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom.”
They moved to an apartment in Bay Ridge Brooklyn and that is where Walter was walking in November when he popped into the mom and pop appliance store nearby.
“I was just asking questions about appliances and I told her we lost everything at Breezy Point,” recounted Connolly.
Lewis remembered, “So I says, today is your lucky day! You’re going to get four free appliances for your kitchen.”
Connolly was stunned. “I says, what? She says, yeah, all major appliances. I says, for free? She says, yes. It was really a shock,” he said.
The four free appliances, including a Frigidaire refrigerator, range, microwave and dishwasher are quite the deal. If the Connollys had to buy them, it would have set them back nearly $2,000.
“Economically it’s a little stressful. We have an apartment now we have to pay for and we also have to pay for our home,” explained Connolly.
Connolly says it will be at least a year before he can go back to his home.
As grateful as he is for this gift, he says this act of kindness makes him think he needs to be giving back more himself.
“I said to my wife, maybe if somebody out there needs it more than we do then we can give it to them. So she says, we need it, but I’m always looking to give to someone else, so we’ll see what happens there,” smiled Connolly.