Over a hundred volunteers came out to Staten Island on Wednesday to spruce up a park damaged by Hurricane Sandy and to honor the anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
With shovels in their hands and their boots on the ground, about a 120 volunteers from clothing and shoe retailer Timberland turned out Wednesday to mark the 12th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
This year, their 9/11 community service project brought them to storm-ravaged Staten Island, where residents are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
"Knowing that you're doing something good on this day really means something, and to get a dual-positive with the fact that we're doing this also with Sandy relief, really makes the day extra special," said Rob Rizzotti from Timberland Clothing.
Timberland teamed up with Staten Island not-for-profit Yellow Boots to rebuild Cedar Grove Park, which was used for months as a staging area for volunteer groups and displaced residents struggling to rebuild their homes.
When that effort was finished, the park was as battered and beaten as the homes surrounding it.
"It looked like what the camp on "MASH" would look like when they moved out. It was a muddy field. There were some ruts from the equipment that they had moved," said resident Bob Jakob.
In the sweltering heat, volunteers cleared away debris, raked up dead roots and covered the space with fresh mulch.
About 140 new plants, flowers and trees now line the park.
"It really does feel good," said volunteer Carol Corcoran. "You know, you remember that there are a lot of bad things in the world, but you know, you can do a lot of good things too."
Cedar Grove Park will eventually be home to a community memorial for the Staten Island's Sandy victims.
A dedication ceremony is already in the works to coincide with the anniversary of the storm.
"It's gonna pay homage to those we lost, those we lost during and after the storm and those who overcame, and also symbolize how Staten Island came together as one strong fist," said Mike Hoffman from Yellow Boots.
Hoffman says that sense of unity is exactly what followed immediately after 9/11, and something he says he hopes the refurbished park won't let Staten Islanders forget.