La Grange teens respond to Hurricane Sandy
Updated: January 7, 2013 1:44AM
LA GRANGE — The fury of the superstorm named Sandy was something to behold.
It certainly looked fierce from the safety of our Midwest family rooms.
While the sheer size, shape and power of the hybrid hurricane-meets-cold front weather disaster was evident in the satellite pictures and in the video and still photos taken by those on the scene, it’s one thing to gasp at an image of cars stacked up on each other like toys and a Coney Island roller coaster now anchored amid open water and quite another to be the ones that the lens is fixed on, left without food, water, electricity, fuel and most tragically, lost loved ones.
As many of us expressed shock and sympathy for our fellow Americans to on the East Coast, a group of teenagers got together and took action, making a difference in their own corner of the world – and in their own corners of La Grange.
On Halloween Night, instead of donning Friday the 13th or Freddy Kruger Masks, six young men went door to door asking for donations for victims of Superstore Sandy, which would be quickly funneled through the Red Cross to reach those in New York, New Jersey and other affected areas quickly.
The boys, all sophomores in high school, were part of a QUEST teen group at St. Francis Xavier Church. Their plan came together quickly, within 24 hours of the storm’s landfall, according to group leader Tonia Devine.
“I sent an email out and we all talked about how disturbed we were by the hurricane, so we put our heads together to think of something to do,” she said. “We had different ideas going back and forth, and then someone mentioned that we should trick or treat for donations.”
The young men handed out flyers as they went door to door, in an area stretching several blocks in La Grange. So far, they have raised about $850 for relief efforts. Some friendly competition between the boys helped up the proverbial ante, as they tried to see who could get the most donations.
Luke Pieczynski of La Grange said it was rewarding to see people give freely, with some pulling out $20 bills and others writing checks.
“It was nice being able to help out. All the people were really supportive and very generous,” he said. “We’re hoping to do more for the Hurricane Sandy victims in future.”
Terri Simeoni, St. Francis Xavier religious education coordinator, notes that such gestures, a time when the country seems so divisive on many things, is a reminder that people do, indeed, rally when it counts.
“Our teens and their adult mentors are amazing. They saw a need, came up with a plan, and fulfilled it,” she said.
The six young men who helped with the storm aid are Daniel Devine, Pieczynski, Kevin Rius, Brendan Buhl, Will Most and Luc Leo.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross is taking donations to aid storm victims. You can log onto http://www.redcross.org/, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text a $10 donation to REDCROSS to 90999.~.