Tag Archive | Hurricane Sandy

Suburban Chicago Man, Who Helped With Post-Sandy Cleanup In NJ, Wins $100,000 Lottery Prize


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While most people are frustrated by the problems created by Superstorm Sandy, one volunteer had an unexpected windfall.

He hit the lottery jackpot because he came to serve in the storm.

John Turner is now back home in the southern Chicago suburb of Chicago Heights, but he’ll never forget what he saw on the East Coast.

“We saw houses moved down the streets, vehicles turned over,” Turner told CBS 2′s Kristine Johnson.

The 38-year-old Turner runs a water removal business called National Catastrophe Solutions of Chicago. He and his staff cleaned up homes flooded by Superstorm Sandy, including some for free for homeowners who had lost everything.

“Some people didn’t have insurance coverage. Some people never would have expected this. It’s one of those 100 years deals,” Turner said.

It was last Sunday after a hard day of cleanup that Turner bought a New Jersey lottery scratch-off ticket. With a flick of the wrist, he became $100,000 richer.

Turner said he was in utter shock.

“Like this is not happening. Like this is not real,” Turner said.

“He couldn’t believe it. He wanted a lot of confirmation from us and just called a lot of family and told everybody the good news,” Joshua Rivera, one of Turner’s employees, said.

In a statement, the state’s lottery director said: “We are very grateful that John has given his time and skills to help the people dealing with the challenges brought on by Sandy and that New Jersey is giving a memorable thank you back to him.”

The jackpot, after taxes, comes to about $70,000, which Turner hopes to invest in his business, give to his church and donate to a family that is in need.

“He deserves it. He’s a good-hearted man. I couldn’t think of anybody better to win it than John,” Rivera said.

Turner, who was born in New Jersey, said his thoughts are still with those struggling after Sandy.

“It’s a saddening situation. It’s really, really sad. So we hope they get back to normal as quickly as possible,” Turner said.

Turner said he will be back to the Tri-State Area next week to once again help in the recovery effort.

source: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/11/12/chicago-man-who-helped-with-post-sandy-cleanup-in-nj-wins-100000-lottery-prize/

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Man Saves Mystery Cabbie During Storm


By CHRISTINA NG | ABC News

As superstorm Sandy’s winds and rain hit Manhattan, a man spotted a taxi trapped in the street. The water around it was getting higher and higher. When he realized the driver was still in the car, he rushed to help.

Jon Candelaria, a 25-year-old who works in accounting, was in his apartment near the East River, looking out the window as the streets below filled with water. He saw the taxi do a 360-degree turn and end up in the rising flood. Candelaria, dressed in basketball shorts, threw on a jacket and sneakers and rushed down into the street.

“It was so dangerous but it didn’t even matter to me,” he told ABC News. “All that mattered was, not even my own life, but just getting this guy out of the car and saving his life. That’s all that mattered.”

Candelaria said the water was chest-deep and freezing.

“When I got down there and I started walking through the water, then it hit me. I could pretty much die right now,” he said. “I thought about my daughter and I told myself, if anything was to happen to me, I know my family could take care of her. I know that for a fact.”

He could see the cab rocking and briefly thought about how he could be electrocuted by falling power lines, but pushed that thought from his mind and kept going. When he got to the driver, the water was already up to his chin.

“I’m glad I got there on time. I guess five more minutes and he would’ve been drowning,” he said. “I put him on this shoulder. I was like, ‘Please don’t panic, don’t freak out. The water is very high.’ And he was like, ‘All right.'”

Candelaria said he struggled to carry the man in the flood, his energy draining.

“But I was like, ‘I can’t stop in the middle of the water. What am I going to do? We could both die,'” he recalled. “So I just kept going with everything I had. Kept pushing. Every little energy, every little strength I had. I just kept going.”

Candelaria’s neighbor Rita Callahan saw the rescue.

“I live on the fifth floor. He lives on seven and he beat me,” she said. “He was out there and he just did it. That’s a hero. A hero doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about helping people.”

When they made it back, the two men took a moment to pose for a photo together before going their separate ways. Candelaria said he does not even know the taxi driver’s name.

“I wasn’t trying to be a hero,” he said. “I just couldn’t watch a man die in front of me. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for the rest of my life, knowing I could’ve done something and I didn’t do it…For me that was my life-changing event. I had two so far — watching my daughter come into this world and saving a man’s life.”

I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog  – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.

Thank you and many blessings.

Help One Another…Always


The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy this week gave cause for many to do what they could to help their neighbors. This disaster has affected millions and it will take a long while for many to recover.

If you would like to help with the relief efforts  you can go to the Red Cross site http://www.redcross.org/ , make a donation online through iTunes or Ebay http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/01/sandy-itunes-ebay-donations/  Or, if you live in the U.S., you can also tune in to NBC tomorrow for their telethon to benefit those affected by hurricane. http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/nbc-to-show-telethon-for-hurricane-sandy-relief-effort-on-friday/

Now, as we all look for a way to help others that are going through this, let me just remind everyone to make a point to help whomever you can on a daily basis. DON’T WAIT for a disaster to lend a helping hand to those in need. If a situation arises where your help would be welcome, reach out and  give what you can – financially, emotionally, etc. to friends, family…even strangers.

NEVER turn your back on those in need. One day you may be the one who needs a hand extended to you.

I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog  – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.

Thank you and many blessings.