The Norman Transcript

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November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving parade lifts spirits

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

“Hey, guys — there’s Charlie Brown,” he said, pointing at the old standby balloon.

The boys didn’t look up.

“I guess they’re over it,” the father said with a shrug.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reflective Thursday as he praised police, firefighters, armed services personnel, sanitation workers and volunteers involved in the storm response. His office was coordinating the distribution of 26,500 meals at 30 sites in neighborhoods affected by Sandy, and other organizations also were pitching in.

The disaster zones on Staten Island were flooded — this time with food and volunteers from Glen Rock, N.J. organized using social media.

“We had three carloads of food,” said volunteer Beth Fernandez. “The whole town of Glen Rock pitched in. ... It’s really cool. It’s my best, my favorite Thanksgiving ever.”

On Long Island, the Long Beach nonprofit Surf For All hosted a Thanksgiving event that fed 1,200 people. Carol Gross, 72, a Long Beach native, said she went to volunteer but was turned away because of a surplus of helpers.

“A lot of people like me, old-timers, we’ve never seen anything like this horror,” she said, recalling the destruction.

Gross’ brother, Jerry, who moved to Arizona in the 1960s, was stunned by what he saw when he returned for Thanksgiving.

“To come back and see the boardwalk all devastated like it is, it’s like going to Manhattan and finding Times Square gone,” he said.

George Alvarez, whose Toms River, N.J., home suffered moderate damage when Sandy hit the coast, said his family usually does “the traditional big dinner” on Thanksgiving. But this year, they chose to attend a community dinner held at an area church.

“This storm not only impacted us, it impacted a lot of our friends, our community, our psyche,” Alvarez said shortly before his family headed out for their meal. “We could have had our usual dinner here at home, but this year it felt like we should be with others who are experiencing the same concerns we are. We made it through this devastating storm, and that’s something to celebrate.”

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