After Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey last fall, Tim Kelly, 30, of North Syracuse knew he wanted to do something to help. He had friends living in that region, and the news footage of the devastation quickly spurred him into action.
“It’s part of human nature to help others when they need it,” says Kelly, who works as Upstate’s trauma registrar and volunteers with North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “When I see somebody that needs something, in my heart I feel I have to do what I can to help out. It’s just the way I was raised. If somebody is knocked down, help them back up.”
Kelly figured he would load supplies into his minivan and drive to a fire station near the affected area. He posted his plans on Facebook and asked: Is anyone willing to help?
He was overwhelmed by the response.
A 23-foot truck was donated, and he estimates some 50 people filled it with clothing, food, water, blankets, coats, toilet paper and other essentials.
“So basically in a little over a week, we were able to fill a truck up completely without much more than social media and talking with some friends.”
He found the Plains Volunteer Fire Department in Toms River, New Jersey to receive and distribute the goods, and he and a friend made a one-day trip on Nov. 11. They arrived to an area that was still largely without power, with many roads blocked, but the firefighters made them sit down for a meal before they headed back to Central New York. Later, the department sent a thank you note.
This story appears in the summer issue of Upstate Health magazine.