Last October in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of people were left without power in New York and New Jersey. In an effort to help those in need, Homestead Energy Services sent a five-man crew to collaborate with the power restoration operation. Councilwoman Judy Waldman, founder of the Kindness Awards, recognized these men who bravely worked under unfavorable weather conditions to help service the victims of the storm.
“The willingness to help others and show kindness to strangers is one of the things that make the City of Homestead great,” said Councilwoman Waldman who presented each of the linemen with a Kindness Award. “These five men did just that, they went beyond the call of duty and represented our ideals. I am honored to honor their kindness today.”
Councilwoman Waldman, also a survivor of Hurricane Andrew, knows the importance of offering help to those who have lost everything in a tragedy. Twenty years ago, the City of Homestead experienced devastation as Hurricane Andrew swept through hundreds of homes and businesses on August 24, 1992. Waldman, as most Homestead residents, subsisted for months from donations from strangers from all over the United States. The kindness that people showed towards one another and willingness to help strangers overcome this disaster left a lasting impression on the Councilwoman.
During the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, Councilwoman Waldman founded the Kindness Awards as a way to recognize residents who perform an act of kindness or service their community, and to remember the resilience of the human spirit and its willingness to assist in times of need. For the past ten years, Councilwoman Waldman has honored dozens of people who have helped the community in one way or another by awarding them with a Kindness Award during the month of August. Councilwoman Waldman was ready to honor Bennie Butler at this year’s Kindness Awards for her selfless service to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, Bennie left us too early, and her kindness and service had to be honored by Councilwoman Waldman during her memorial services on Friday, March 1st.
After receiving many emails and calls documenting the efforts of this five-man crew in the Northeast and thanking them for their efforts, Councilwoman Waldman knew these five men deserved to be honored for their kindness. On April 15, Councilwoman Waldman honored William Miner, Wil Worrall, Bret West, Marco Quijano, and Jonathan Ingram with a Kindness Award for their help in restoring power to the area of Arlington Street in Westbury, New York.
Councilwoman Waldman also organized efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy with the Homestead Gives Back: Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive. With the help of Captain Edward Bowe, City of Homestead Emergency Manager, Chief Alexander Rolle of the Homestead Police Department, Julie Richards, Assistant to the City Manager, and Bennie Butler who organized dozens of volunteers, a 53-foot trailer northAmerican Van Lines and Homestead Transfer and Storage, donated by Adrienne Griffitts, was filled in only ten days. Thanks to the generous donations of hundreds of Homestead residents, Homestead Miami Speedway, non-for-profit organization Farm Share, a large donation of non-perishable foods by Congressman Joe Garcia, and a $5,000 donation from Jose Camarillo from SkyNet 360, the truck was filled to the brim and sent to Rockaway, Queens and received by Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall.