OCBP veteran forms group to aid damaged properties
Mendy Fiori, left, of Ocean City, and Ginger Fleming of Ocean Pines clean the floor of Bayside Jet Drive on Wednesday. The two are members of the volunteer project called Sandy Clean Up Help, formed by Colby Nelson in an effort to help people and property affected by Hurricane Sandy.OCEAN CITY TODAY/NANCY POWELL(Nov. 2, 2012) Strangers worked side by side Wednesday in an effort to help people and property affected by Hurricane Sandy.
They replaced a deck at a house in Pittsville and then started work cleaning out Bayside Jet Drive, a 52nd Street Kawasaki and Yamaha dealership. Some carried out debris while others tossed trash into bins and still others used hoses to clean the floors.
On Thursday, they planned to help residents of Warrens Park Trailer Community, which is close to Bayside Jet Drive.
Colby Nelson, a 19-year veteran of the Ocean City Beach Patrol, started the volunteer project she called Sandy Clean Up Help. She got the idea while sitting at home at about 5 p.m. Monday during the storm and thinking about the coming need for assistance.
She added a few people to her Facebook group page and as word spread, so did the number of people willing to volunteer. As of Tuesday afternoon, many people had signed on to help others. Because of the response, Nelson started a Facebook fan page, Sandy Clean-Up Help Across Delmarva, to make it easier for people to “like” the page and find out what is happening.
“Anyone can see it,” she said.
Nelson is hoping her group makes a difference. People may ask for help by using the Facebook page.
“So many people want to help, but not too many are asking for help,” she said. “If people are asking for help, it’s for debris removal.”
Some of the volunteers have chainsaws and trucks to make clean-up easier. Many of the volunteers are steadily employed, but are willing to work nights and weekends.
“We will continue as long as we can keep offering volunteers,” Nelson said.
At Bayside Jet Drive, 24 volunteers were working to clean up after the storm.
“It’s amazing,” said Bayside Jet Drive owner Eric Fiori. “It’s absolutely free. This would have taken us three weeks to do by ourselves.”
The free work of so many volunteers inspired Fiori to volunteer. When asked when he would help someone else, he said, “As soon as we’re done here.”
The volunteer effort also inspired peo- ple in the restaurant business. Bethany Blues BBQ, a restaurant in Bethany Beach, Del., provided lunch for the volunteers at Bayside Jet Drive.
Another restaurant, Shark on the Harbor in West Ocean City, provided 65 crab cake sandwiches to people on Tuesday.
“We walked up and down the Boardwalk and saw people cleaning and contractors working and business owners and we just gave the sandwiches to anyone who looked like they were working hard,” said Jody Wright, a co-owner of the restaurant. “We just wanted to do something to help.”