Flooding, massive power outages and Quiksilver chaos were some of the major headlines post-Hurricane Irene in Long Beach — but not everything that came out of Irene was negative.
On Sunday, amidst the damage and downed trees from the storm, four local men decided helping neighbors deal with the aftermath was more important than anything else.
East Walnut Street, like most of Long Beach, sustained heavy damage from Irene. Cathy Herrick, a resident on the 600 block of East Walnut, said she came home around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday after spending the night at her sister's house in North Massapequa.
As Herrick got to her block, there were three huge trees down in the road, making the street impassable — until four neighbors showed up to help.
"A neighbor across the street had called city hall, but they couldn't give her a time frame when they were able to send men to clear the trees," Herrick said. "Ten minutes later, an SUV pulled up with four young men and they all jumped out and told us not to worry, they were going to cut up the trees with chainsaws they had with them."
The four men — Allan Nafte, Jim Warren, Ryan Denapoli and Mario Maltese — cut up the trees and cleared all the debris to the sides of the road to make it passable again.
"The neighbors were so thankful that we all chipped in money," Herrick said. "We went to hand it to them but they all refused and said they wouldn't take a penny as they were just helping neighbors out. They told me they had done it on other blocks, too."
The "fantastic four" were actually caught on camera by Long Beach Patch in the act of clearing East Olive Street near Neptune Boulevard as well (see picture).
While the 600 block of East Walnut couldn't pay the men for helping, they still wanted to say "thank you" to the four men who were described by residents "heroes."