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"I feel like this is a start to something better," she said. "Finally, one of my prayers is answered. I’m going to have walls! I’m going to have floors to walk on!"
The couple hopes to be back in their home in another month.
It doesn’t take much for Robert Schipf of Babylon, N.Y., to become emotional when he thinks about the recovery from Sandy, which inundated his two-story Long Island home with about 2 feet of water.
"For me, the easiest word to describe it is ‘helpless,’" Schipf said as he choked back a tear in the foyer of the recently renovated house, where new floor tiles have been laid and walls have been replaced.
The repairs cost him about $110,000.
Schipf and his family spent nearly 11 months staying with relatives as their home was fixed.
"We couldn’t get straight answers from anyone," he said.
The frustration mounted as he dealt with local, state and federal agencies — as well as insurance underwriters — who could not provide adequate answers.
"None of the insurance companies were ready for this magnitude of storm," he said.
Debbie Fortier, of Brick, N.J., drove to Seaside Park hoping to speak with Gov. Chris Christie, who was visiting several Sandy-ravaged towns. Walking out arm-in-arm with him after he finished speaking at the firehouse, she told Christie how her family’s house had to be torn down and how her family has yet to receive any aid.
"We’re physically, emotionally and spiritually just drained," she said after Christie left. "Does anybody hear us?"
She said she is on a waiting list "for everything" and is particularly bitter that her family started to repair their storm-damaged house, only to have inspectors later tell them it was too badly damaged to fix. They then had to knock it down and move into a friend’s basement.
"How long am I supposed to wait?" she asked. "It’s been a year. You can’t just not move forward."
Yet Fortier said she takes Christie at his word that help is on the way — whenever that might be.
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