St. Bonaventure students arrived back on campus early Monday morning after spending the last several days helping victims of superstorm Sandy pick up the pieces. As YNN's Mark Goshgarian explains, the storm may me gone, but for several BonaResponds volunteers, the experience has left a lasting impression.
ALLEGANY, N.Y. — "You feel lucky that people you know are safe and out of harms way," said Brendan Kennedy, BonaResponds project leader.
Kennedy is from Long Island and has a personal connection to those hit hard by superstorm Sandy.
"It was pretty sad to see all the houses that were just completely destroyed by the fires, going in and seeing peoples basements were completely flooded floor to ceiling," said Kennedy.
"I know the area, so just to see sand everywhere, debris everywhere, cars were washed up on top of other cars, it was just unbelievable," said Timothy Harfmann, BonaResponds volunteer.
Harfmann and Kennedy were among the 50 BonaResponds volunteers who returned early Monday morning from Rockaway Park, south of Queens. The group spent the last several days helping storm victims dig through water logged debris and clean out their mud-filled garages.
"We just took everything out and put it out on the street for the dump trucks to come get. I felt like I was shoveling peoples lives away," said Lydia Hall-Lochmann Van Bennekon, BonaResponds volunteer.
"Couches on top of couches... two feet of sand on some of the houses. It's unreal to see that, usually I'm used to seeing two feet of snow out in the streets, but you see, the sand piled up on the side of the streets was unreal," said Bryan Weber, BonaResponds volunteer.
"The people were absolutely grateful for what we did, ugh, just mass amounts of stuff that was just absolutely destroyed, and it's just, it was mind-blowing," said Dominic Edwards, BonaResponds volunteer.
Organizers say the trip was an eye-opening experience for the volunteers.
"It teaches everyone needs help at some point in their life, it teaches them they can do something for anyone," said Jim Mahar, BonaResponds leader.
The group plans to return to the area at the end of next month.