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Friday, October 31, 2014

Community ‘ROCs’ Hurricane Sandy drive
Susan Grieco/Herald
Mike Scillaba donated the use of his two helicopters to transport supplies directly to hard hit areas like Breezy Point.

When Rock Out Cures, ROC, hosted their first fund raiser in 2008, they never expected to grow to the size they are today, President Bryan Mayer said. ROC regularly hosts fundraisers and various drives at Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square.

Mayer, an Elmont resident, said when Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island and the New York area, he knew the organization had to take action. The non-profit group met on the evening of Nov. 6 to discuss what could be done for those who lost everything in the wake of the storm. The group decided to collect supplies and send them to Breezy Point, the Rockaways and Lindenhurst.

The group then got to work, spreading the word and organizing collections. James Gangone, the group’s vice president, reached out to his high school friend Mike Scillaba, who donated the use of his two helicopters. He is the owner of East End Helicopters, an aerial tour company. Scillaba landed his helicopters on the soccer fields behind Plattduetsche last Saturday and the drive got underway.

Community members turned out by the dozens ­— many brought clothes, food and cleaning supplies to donate. Others brought donations and lent a hand to help sort through and box the supplies. ROC usually has three months to prepare for fundraisers like this, but Mayer said he wasn’t concerned with the time crunch. “We wanted to get help to people as quickly as possible,” he said. “Our motto is helping others, that’s what we do.”

The dozens of volunteers on hand folded clothes and boxed up the donations. The buzz of Scillaba’s helicopters drew people off Hempstead Turnpike to see what was happening. Many who came over to see the helicopters quickly returned with donations of their own Mayer said.

The helicopters were loaded up and made four different trips to drop off the supplies. Even with the four drops, ROC still has a bounty of boxed donations. The surplus was moved to the American Legion in Elmont on Monday and ROC plans to move those supplies to those in need as quickly as possible. “The drops made a dent, but we have so much stuff,” Mayer said. “The community really stepped up and came out.”

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