“Our mission is to save peoples homes,” said Kevin Adams who grew up spending his summers in Breezy Point. He also happens to be a FDNY firefighter who started this volunteer organization he calls Operation Gut and Pump a couple of days after Sandy hit.”I knew at the very least I had the manpower from my firehouse and battalion to set up a little tent and table in middle of the ball fields in Breezy Point and just put a little sign up, saying gut and pump your home for free,” said Adams.
Homeowners like Sebastian Danese couldn’t be more grateful for the free gut and pump because this work would have cost him up to $20,000 with a private company. So far, the operation says it has saved this community nearly $10million in home repairs.
“Well it would break me, I mean, I wouldn’t have any more money left. Probably have to take out a loan. So yeah, it’s kind of a lifesaver,” said Danese.
The problem is these so-called lifesavers need some help of their own.
For starters, these guys are exhausted. Most of them have full-time jobs and have been volunteering here on their time-off for the past three weeks straight. They are desperate for more hands on the walls, so to speak.
“You can use your hands, it doesn’t take much,” explained Phil Pillet, another founding member of Operation Gut and Pump.
Volunteer Erin Daly agrees. Even though they have more than a hundred volunteers,”Its not enough, we still need as many people that can come down, even for couple hours, we’ll throw them in a crew. It will make you feel good about yourself.”
While they need people who are willing to do manual labor, they could also use people who can use a computer or answer phones.
To volunteer, go to www.rebuildingbreezypoint.com or call Kevin Adams at 347-533-0200. You can also drop by the Point Breeze Fire Department off Beach 210 Street.
Star-sighting: Operation Gut and Pump has the support of A-List actor, Steve Buscemi of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He dropped by the operation on Monday and his wife brought everyone pumpkin pies. You never know, you could get to meet a star!