Monday, November 5, 2012

Good deeds, warm words helped us through the storm

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

I asked you to tell me who’s doing positive things in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and you came through. While I know there are many more people helping each other than we’ve heard about, here are some good examples. It doesn’t take a heroic act to make a difference. The little things mean a lot. They show us that others care, that we’re not alone facing a world that can be pretty cold at times.

Edward Burke of West Haven was grateful to the city and to Living Word Ministries for how he fared in the storm. He’s 75 years old and requires a breathing apparatus. “They brought me up to Carrigan School” where he could use his machine, Burke said. “I got a cot, I got food” from Living Word, a church on Bull Hill Lane, “and they supplied food that quite frankly was better than most restaurants!”

Burke mentioned a woman named Kathy who worked 16 to 18 hours a day. “I think that people like her should be compensated somehow for it,” he said.

John Appel of Branford nominated his neighbor, Mike Labonia of Lanphier Road, who had a generator and two neighbors without power. “He solicited extension cords also and connected two women who otherwise whould have been without power and whose freezers would have been without power also,” Appel said.

On Facebook, Susan Lanzaro Schroeder told about “an elderly Derby neighbor handicapped with bedsores AND without power for five long days survived on an air mattress that was shot.” Schroeder said she learned about the situation Friday morning, posted it on the Valley Independent Sentinel and within 1½ hours “offers came pouring in to contact and assist this family. She is now safely ‘tucked in’ at a nursing home for the next week or so. People in need don't always reach out; but, there are people who feel urgent about helping!!!”

Sometimes there’s no single deed. Lubelia Bela DeBrum, also on Facebook, said that in her Milford condo complex, where one section was hit hard, “came together as a true community. We are not only nearest but we’re family.”

Even nonprofit agencies can be the recipients of kindness. The Connecticut Food Bank posted today, “There are so many people and organizations we want to thank.  One is a woman from Orange, CT, who just got her power back on Sunday.  She told us she spent her entire weekly food budget to help others.  Another is a young man who rented a truck when he learned we needed help getting the food from West Hartford to our East Haven warehouse.”

There are many more stories out there. Tell us more … or better yet, write your own in the way you help others.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tell us your good news stories. We need some cheering up!

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

Boy, can we all use some good news right about now. How about this story, recounted by staff reporter Jennifer Swift:

Branford resident Lloyd Conlin realized last year during Tropical Storm Irene that he was lucky to have a generator — so he decided to extend his resources to others, and did the same after Hurricane Sandy hit.

Conlin extended a power cord to a bar table in front of his home at 1 Soundview Heights, inviting anyone to stop by and charge up.

Lloyd Conlin, co-owner of Lenny's Indian Head Inn, ran a power cord in front of his home so people could charge up or play video games. (Peter Hvizdak/Register photo)

“I bought this generator six years ago, I never had to use it — ever. Then along came a girl named Irene,” he said. “I figured someone else could use the power too.”

Conlin, who owns Lenny’s Indian Head Inn, said people have taken him up on it. After Sandy, a boy stopped by, plugged in a hand-held gaming device, sat down on the sandbags and played games for a half hour.

“Just for one kid playing a game, being happy, that made it worth it,” he said.

If you look closely, you can always find breaks of sunlight in the storm clouds. Believe it or not, journalists like these positive stories just as much as anyone else. Here are just a few of the random acts of kindness we’ve heard so far.

Kenneth Richards wrote on Facebook, “In West Haven by Pagels School and Ora Mason Library there is a group of children coming to (your) door and giving (you) candy!!! What an act of kindness and bravo (to) the parents!!!”

Nicole Barnes, also in West Haven, described how her fiancé helped West Shore Fire Department volunteers cut down a tree that was leaning against an elderly resident’s front door. “The three of them rocked it to help out that sweet woman and her daughter,” Barnes wrote. “The West Shore FD has some wonderful firemen working for them and this was just one small thing I saw today that I had to share.”

And in Milford, Joe Della Monica offered: “If any of my friends need to shower, power up phones, lap tops, warm bed or hot meal, stop over!!!

Several businesses offered free food, including Rainbow Gardens in Milford and Miya Sushi in New Haven and many more offered to serve as charging stations. There’s a list of places offering free meals at our Elm City Express blog.

Now we want to hear from you. Have you heard of any “hometown heroes” or random acts of kindness? Email me at, post them on the New Haven Register’s Facebook page or call me at 203-789-5743. Let’s let some sunlight shine through these overcast days!