Breezy Point Resident Pens Sandy Memoir


Hurricane Sandy left many of those in the same boat, having to deal with the after-effects of their communities and homes being devastated. Yet each person’s personal story was unique. Five years later, some of the memories have started to fade as people try to block out the bad and move on. Yet some chose to document one of the biggest life-changing ordeals by putting it all down in writing, like Breezy Point (temporarily Broad Channel) resident, George Donley. He recently published, Someone Else Always Has it Worse: A Memoir Of My Family’s Struggles In Recovering From The Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

In his first-ever, self-published book, Donley documents the trials, tribulations and even heartwarming moments of enduring Sandy and all that came in the months and years that followed with the recovery process. In April 2014, Donley started to record everything that had been going on in the past year and a half, to document his experience for his family, but came to realize that his story could be useful to others going through similar situations, and he made the decision to put it out there for the public.

“I first committed to writing down my experiences to create a family chronicle so the young kids, my grandkids, would appreciate what their family went through,” Donley said. “But I also hope the book provides a guideline for families dealing with problems caused by future storms.”

Donley was back in his Breezy Point home by July 2013 and completed most of the book by October 2014, but found that the story was never really over for him. Since May of this year, he has once again been out of his home as he awaits Build it Back to complete the elevation. Yet he felt the 5th Anniversary of Sandy was the right time to publish his memoir. “I could’ve kept it going, but the 5th anniversary was the proper cutoff. There was no point in waiting until the 10th anniversary,” he said.  So in August of this year, he finally put the book to bed.

Donley’s memoir chronicles the events of evacuating his Breezy Point home and staying with family, finding a temporary place to live in the aftermath, finding his home and community decimated by Mother Nature, the fight for him and his children to get back into their homes, the unique challenges of the Breezy Point community, hit by devastating fires, the complexities of being part of a private Co-op, the headache of dealing with insurance companies and the red tape and bureaucracy from governmental agencies, the frustrations of the Build it Back program, and the positive aspects of seeing the good in humanity and the little signs of hope for the future, like enjoying a beer with your neighbors at the Sugar Bowl after it just made its comeback from the storm.

Donley’s book is available at local retail locations around the neighborhood for $10. It can be found at the liquor store or coffee shop in Breezy Point, the card store on Beach 129th Street, and The Gift is Love on Beach 116th Street. Donley has also sent copies of his book to those hit by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. “I hope that people in other catastrophes can look at this as a guide for how to deal with insurance companies and governmental agencies, and inject some hope into them, knowing that it gets better,” Donley said.

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