SANDY STARS

Hurricane Sandy Heroes From Coast Guard Rescuers to Red Cross Volunteers (PHOTOS)

Mayor Bloomberg calms New Yorkers, the Coast Guard rescues shipwrecked sailors. Uplifting stories of Frankenstorm.

The worst weather can bring out the best in people. Whether it’s the nurses and doctors evacuating hundreds, the Coast Guard rescuers helping boaters to safety, or power-company officials working around the clock to keep the lights on, Hurricane Sandy has no shortage of people doing their best to help others. The Daily Beast finds some of the most uplifting stories to come out of “Frankenstorm.”

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Firefighters

You wouldn't normally think that a massive blaze would break out in the middle of a hurricane, but that's exactly what happened in the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens. So it fell upon about 200 firefighters to brave the storm to battle the six-alarm fire, which destroyed at least 80 homes. And they had to pull people to safety without the luxury of their rigs because the flooding made it impossible for fire trucks to navigate the streets. Instead, they used boats to pull people to safety.

John Minchillo / AP Photo

Clean Up Crews

Hurricane Sandy spewed debris up and down the East Coast, leaving workers and volunteers to clean up after the storm. After an explosion at the Consolidated Edison power sub-station on 14th Street in New York City, crews got busy clearing the rubble. The storm left hundreds of thousands without power.

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Police

Much of the search and rescue operations are left to local law enforcement officials. Since Sandy hit the East Coast, police officers have responded to a slew of emergency calls, lifting trees off cars, rescuing people from flooded houses, and even pulling drowning victims out of rivers.

 

Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

Public Workers

Where would most towns be without public workers to help clean up the streets and clear debris in the aftermath of a superstorm like Sandy? Many of these city, town, and state employees were on the job as early as Tuesday morning trying to restore a sense of order to areas devastated by the hurricane.

 

 

John Minchillo

Doctors, Nurses, and Paramedics

When a backup generator at New York University's Tisch Hospital failed Monday night, more than 200 patients were forced to be evacuated. Starting with the severely ill, paramedics carried patients down many flights of stairs where fearless doctors and nurses stood waiting—amid treacherous wind, rain, and cold—to help them get to safety. A spokesperson from NYU Langone Medical Center said the dangerous operation was carried out without any casualties. 

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

One of the lasting effects of any hurricane is the widespread power outages that leave people in the dark, sometimes for weeks after the storm passes. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is determined not to let that happen. He preemptively told his state's utility providers to get help before the storm hits so they can be prepared. “We’ve had our boot up the backside of Pepco to bring in mutual aid help from other states,” O’Malley told The Daily Beast. “I said, ‘Get the assets in here from every place you can.’” So far more than 3,000 emergency workers from other states have flooded in to help Pepco, which serves both D.C. and Maryland.

US Coast Guard / AP Photo

Coast Guard

Coast Guard rescuers saved 14 crew members aboard the HMS Bounty, a three-mast ship that was trying to maneuver around Hurricane Sandy. The rescuers flew out to the 180-foot vessel in helicopters, braving 40 mph winds and 18-foot waves to bring in the Bounty's crew. The ship, which was traveling from Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Fla., had been taking on too much water and lost propulsion because of the hurricane.

Louis Lanzano / AP Photo

Mayor Bloomberg

For the second time in a year, the Big Apple has been threatened by massive hurricanes and the city's chief executive has been on top of it. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has prepped New York for Hurricane Sandy, which many are calling the storm of the century. Evacuations? Check. He ordered 3,750,000 people to vacate the low-lying areas across the five boroughs. Mass transit shutdown? Check. The system went dark well before the storm hit. Shelters? Up and running with baby supplies. Massive construction cranes teetering on the brink of collapse? He's ready for that, too.

Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo

Power Workers

While most people were hightailing it out of the areas that would be most affected by Frankenstorm, power workers from across the country were traveling to the spots that would likely get hit the hardest. More than 500 power workers came up from Alabama to assist in recovery efforts. At least 150 were coming from the West Coast to help restore power in New York.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Mayor Bloomberg's Sign Language Lady

Sometimes, what you really need is somebody to lift your spirits. And for that, we thank the woman who put her heart and soul into translating one of Bloomberg's press conferences into sign language. Overly emotive? Maybe. Highly entertaining? Definitely. Check out the video here.

Steve Ruark / AP Photo

Indiana Red Cross Volunteers

As New York, New Jersey, and surrounding areas scrambled to prepare and respond to the destruction from Sandy, a crew of Hoosiers began a pilgrimage to help out where they can. American Red Cross volunteers based in Indiana journeyed late last week to Harrisburg, Penn., where they began staging rescue efforts for the storm that was to come in the next few days.

 

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Ordinary People

We all may be panicking, stressed out, and confused as the storm continues to wreak havoc and news updates continue to have us anticipating the worst, but at least we’re all in this together. Reporters are out braving the storm and flood waters to bring us updates. Delivery men, God bless them, have continued to deliver our pizza and Chinese food even as winds whipped at frightening speeds. Pet owners are braving the weather to take poor Rover out on a walk, while our finest officers, firefighters, and emergency workers are showing their true colors as they work around the clock. To varying degrees, we’ve all shown a little bit of bravery over these past few days.