Vt. man hit by Irene helps with Sandy recovery efforts - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. man hit by Irene helps with Sandy recovery efforts

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Walter Golub Walter Golub

Months after Hurricane Sandy rolled through New York, Nicole Smith's Long Island home is getting ripped to the beams.

"It's unbelievable," she said. "You don't realize how much damage is done until you start pulling things apart."

This is the second time the home has been ravished by extreme weather. It had just been renovated following a major blow from Tropical Storm Irene.

"Nature is something you have no control over. You can't control it at all," Smith said.

The wrath of Mother Nature is something Walter Golub of Rochester knows well. When Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont the dentist jumped into action to identify former patients who washed away from the Rochester Cemetery. Now, he's focused on the living. He has made his way to New York and is working to help folks get ready to rebuild.

"I know all of the help we had in Rochester, Vermont, in Hurricane Irene and this Hurricane Sandy is unfortunately the next chapter," Golub said.

The 71-year-old retiree is teaming with the NECHAMA disaster relief organization on Long Island.

"In certain circumstances groups come together and that's the joy of working in a in a relief effort because it becomes your family, your extended family," Golub said.

Together, these volunteers are gutting water-logged homes of insulation, debris, and moldy dry wall.

"Well, I think it is a response to the fortunate circumstances I have had in my life," Golub said.

Golub and the NECHAMA crew in blue put a major dent in the damage to Nicole Smith's home, pulling up floorboards and hauling out trash.

"I can't put into words how much I really appreciate that a 70-year-old man, a 71-year-old man, is volunteering his time to help put some other people's lives back together," Smith said. "I just think it is amazing. Super heroes is what I want to call them."

Super heroes like Golub who says his Vermont ways will have him doing good as long as his health allows.

"Everybody works until they drop dead, even if they're retired they're doing something," he said.

Something that for him means changing the lives of people he barely knows at a time when they need it most.

"It is so heartwarming to know that people are willing to help you, just strangers who are willing to help you," Smith said. "You don't realize that there are people out there like that."

Keith met Walter while volunteering with the group in New York.

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