Community helps Hurricane Sandy victims

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By Nancy Edwards

October 2012 went by without much excitement for Fishers residents. Yet Mark Berutich and his family were worried.

The Berutichs, who moved to Fishers six years ago, were originally from Long Island, New York, where Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29. Mark’s parents and three siblings still live there, and during the storm, a tree fell on his eldest sister’s property, crushing the fence that surrounded her house, water flooded another sister’s basement, while floodwaters drenched everything inside Mark’s brother’s home. His parents remained without power for a few days; his siblings, for weeks. All the food they had was spoiled. Their clothes grew mold.

“It was a helpless feeling,” Mark said. “We opened our house to them, but they wouldn’t leave their homes.”

Many of Berutich’s neighbors, coworkers, friends from church and other parents where their kids went to school were concerned about Mark’s family. Before long, their friends, acquaintances and even strangers began raising money to help them. Homemade cards, a $2,000 check, and gift cards from Target, Costco and Home Depot began appearing in Mark’s mailbox.

“This effort took on a life of its own,” Mark said. “We were amazed (by the generosity). It was humbling to see the outpouring of support.”

Mark sent all proceeds to his mom to distribute to his three siblings; she shared the news with his two sisters and brother during a call when his family members were present for the holidays.

“I could hear the emotion,” Mark said. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room; this was not something my family was expecting from strangers who lived 700 miles away; they were overcome with emotion. My family back home is amazed at the community here (in Fishers).”

Money and donated gift cards have helped Mark’s family get back on track with everyday necessities lost during the hurricane.

Peggy Platt, a neighbor and friend from church who helped Mark’s family, said she considered the Berutichs family.

“Mark’s family had a terrible circumstance they didn’t ask for. We help each other. It’s kind of a spirit in the neighborhood,” she said.


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