I'M THE marina owner featured in the cover story in the Daily News on Friday, May 3. I didn't come across as I wanted, so I'd like for your readers to hear my own words about progress we've made since Superstorm Sandy.
I am fully insured, and have been since 1996, however the contents - including all of the inventory in the store, the garage and sheds, along with tools, diagnostic tools, power tools, etc. - were not covered because there was an exclusion for rising water. If the roof blew off, I would have been covered. Also, the docks and bulkheads that were destroyed are uninsurable. Thousands of people are in the same situation.
I have been featured in newspapers all over the world because of what everyone calls the "iconic" photo that was taken [with President Obama]. The press thrives on bringing up the words that were spoken that day, which were that I would receive immediate help from FEMA. I never had been through a natural disaster before, so I had no idea what that meant. Truth be told, FEMA does not help businesses; they refer you to the SBA.
Unfortunately, the first question always asked by the press is, "How do you feel about not getting any assistance?" In the beginning I admit I was frustrated and scared. After the education of learning how the system works, I do not expect, nor do I want, anything that everyone else would not receive or be entitled to.
We are surviving due to friends, family, customers and strangers who came to my aid. We purchased materials, and one by one they continued to show up for the last six months. They rebuilt my sheds, rehabbed the public restroom. A complete stranger named Marlin replaced all the walls, the pegboard, etc., we had to tear down in the store, which had more than 2 feet of water. He stayed for 2 1/2 days. A friend stayed in the cold for three days cleaning the quickly rusting tools in toolboxes in the garage, which had water chest-high. They rebuilt my walkways, inventoried the close to $100,000 of parts and inventory that went in the trash, they cut wood and replanked the docks. Now they are working on replacing the water lines and electric to the docks. I also received donations from family, friends, customers and strangers, which will help with the cost of the pilings for the docks. The story does not end here; it will continue.
The love and support and kindness of hundreds of people is what I received, and that is more than I could ever ask for!
Donna M. Vanzant
North Point Marina