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Four Local Heroes Emerge Out of Irene

Chainsaw-wielding locals help clear road for East Walnut Street residents after hurricane.

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."

Quality Physio August 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM
and so those 33 trees down are no MAJOR damage to Long Beach as these four heroes showed their "Aloha" by giving, without expecting, even refusing anything in return and just cleaned up their neighbors streets! What else you need done Theofan?
Gerald Cymbalsky August 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM
That is what being neighbors is all about. Thank you for a good story about Long Beach people helping people. I live in a co-op apartment with long time Long Beach Resident William C. O'Brien. Bill is a retired LBPD Lt. and I as NYC civil servant cannot believe the way he is. This makes relieved that there are similiar people to where I grew up who go out of there way to help everyone.
Gerald Cymbalsky August 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Bill is some neighbor and really lets that co-op board president thing go to his head,
SeanyA August 31, 2011 at 01:08 PM
I live on that block and it was very passable by the time I got home around 3:30pm. I didn't know that happened. Great job and thanks.
Goingplaces August 31, 2011 at 05:04 PM
I think they are wonderful for taking the time to help others. It is nice to hear!
oceanview August 31, 2011 at 06:18 PM
They should run for city council.
anna August 31, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Love this story!

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