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Strangers help Sandy family finally return home for Christmas

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MASSAPEQUA, Long Island (PIX11) — When PIX11  met Anthony and Beth Henry of Massapequa, Long Island on the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the parents of two, young daughters were quite dejected.

Their Forest Avenue home was nowhere near being re-built, after being flooded during the super storm in October 2012.  Insurance was offering $51,000, but contractors were estimating it could cost at least $122,000 to put their house back together.

Enter a charity group called “New York Says Thank You”.

The foundation saw the PIX 11 story about Anthony, a New York City firefighter who responded to the Sandy-fueled inferno in Breezy Point, Queens. and Beth, a schoolteacher.
Because Anthony was a  “first responder” during Sandy, the charity wanted to help.

And help, it did.

In early September 2013, New York Says Thank You rounded up volunteer firefighters from places like Slidell, Louisiana—who had received assistance after Hurricane Katrina.  Even firefighters from Canada came to help, assisting with sheetrock and electrical work.  At the time, New York Says Thank You presented the Henrys with a check for $5,000 on the PIX 11 Morning News.

Immediately afterward, an anonymous donor from North Dakota—once helped by the same charity—sent a check for $25,000.  The Henrys started making progress.

On the one year anniversary of Sandy, Beth Henry tearfully placed “wish lanterns” in the water near her home, telling PIX 11 her family wasn’t home yet—but was “close”.

And so it was that on Friday, December 20th, the Henrys were determined to sleep in their home by Christmas Eve.

“If the girls’ bedroom furniture doesn’t get here, we’ll go to the mattresses,” Anthony Henry said.  The stumbling block for the bedroom furniture was the carpet installation.

There was also a delay on the arrival of the kitchen cabinets.  Contractor, Colin Moran, said, “Monday is the 23rd, so there’s still a little hope left.”

The KPMG accounting firm—which provided 2,000 hours of service to the family—also delivered a check for $10,000 Friday, courtesy of the Managing Partner, Tony Dalessio.

Regarding the help the family received from so many, Beth Henry tearfully—and gratefully–said, “We now will pay it forward for the rest of our lives, and our girls: it will be part of them.”