VIDEO: Firefighters Come Together to Rebuild After Sandy

A crew of firefighters from Kearny have been joined by fellow firefighters from departments around the country and Canada in their effort to rebuild

Tommy Atwell is a contractor.

In the three months since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey's coast directly he and a crew have been working tirelessly, gutting homes, replacing sheet rock, doing demolition, and any other support work that can be found. In all, he said he thinks he's worked on about 40 homes so far.

And he hasn't taken a dime.

As a member of the Kearny Fire Department, Atwell and his fellow firefighters have made giving back part of the job description. They've held charity hockey tournaments, volunteered locally, and even traveled down to Louisiana following 2005's Hurricane Katrina to assist in rebuilding there.

Sandy's devastation brought Atwell to the Jersey Shore and he's remained here for the past few months. Every week, he said a new group of firefighters from departments all over come in donate some of their time. At times, as many as 20 guys have been on hand to help rebuild homes devastated by Sandy.

Recently, Atwell and company have been making the rounds in Seaside Park, literally going from home to home - often times they're right next to each other - as they make their way along the shore.

Late last week, the firefighters from Kearny were joined by members of the Toronto Fire Department, who made the trek from Canada to help out their brothers in New Jersey. Paul Versace said he met Atwell during a Sept. 11 hockey fundraiser years ago. He saw the devastation and reached out to see if he and his crew could lend a hand. 

That's just how it goes, Atwell said, some people are just drawn to helping others.

Though he's a contractor by trade, Atwell said it was easy to put aside the chance at making money during what is New Jersey's new construction boom. People are in need, he said, and firefighters, like always, are here to help without question.

doreen January 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Thank God and God Bless these firefighters. These contractors sbould take a lesson from these firefighters. The contractors out there today are vultures who are shooting prices out of the air.The sad part is they are mostly our local contractor who will be remembered for doing this when the dust settles! Six months ago they were starving for business, now they are trying to make a quick buck.I don t begrudge anyone for being paid for their time, but most of these builders are out of control.
Joel Di Orio January 30, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Thanks for helping us out down here.
Pat S. January 30, 2013 at 03:28 PM
My Dad was a firefighter- he would be so proud of these guys. Thank you for all you're doing.
K.S. January 30, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Remember this next time they want to make cuts to their benefits and department budgets. Be there and support these guys the way they have always been there for others.
Mimi February 01, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Thank you for all of your tireless help....they say you get what you give in this life...I am sure you will be rewarded in great ways for all of your kindness. This world could use more people like you! God Bless all of you!


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