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LIJ provides funds to storm-hit staffers

TimesLedger Newspapers

After Hurricane Sandy devastated communities and families in the New York area, caregivers throughout the region have had to step up their efforts to help storm victims in need of food, shelter and medical care.

And to return that favor, management at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, L.I., announced a major donation for a relief fund to benefit its employees’ families also affected by the superstorm. The roughly $2.3 million raised will go to help hundreds of employees — including many who come from the battered Rockaways in Queens.

“Considering how so many North Shore-LIJ employees care for their patients during their critical hours of need, we’re proud to step up and take care of our colleagues when they need it most,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of North Shore-LIJ. “Even after Hurricane Sandy left death and destruction in her wake, there are untold stories of North Shore-LIJ caregivers who continued to come to work, despite losing their homes and most of their possessions to flooding and fires.”

Within about 48 hours of Sandy hitting land in the metropolitan area, a spokeswoman for North Shore-LIJ said the 16-hospital health system placed more than 60 families in temporary housing. North Shore-LIJ employees have already contributed more than 1,000 vacation hours — totaling 137 business days — to affected employees who will need to miss work as they piece their lives back together.

Donna Marsden, a unit receptionist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, was forced to evacuate her Rockaway apartment as Hurricane Sandy approached. By the time the storm had departed, Marsden’s apartment had sustained serious flood damage and a major gas leak, forcing her and her family to stay with relatives in Pennsylvania.

While she was thankful to be safe and sound with her family, she was not able to recover most of her belongings and one of her family’s cars was destroyed, a spokeswoman for North Shore-LIJ said. Marsden and her family were then moved into temporary housing at North Shore-LIJ in Glen Cove, L.I., to help her regain some sense of normalcy.

Marsden’s story was similar to many others, the hospital said, including Roody Antoine’s from Far Rockaway. Antoine’s home was destroyed in the storm and he was left with nowhere to go until North Shore-LIJ reached out to provide temporary shelter.

“This is a very, very special place to work for,” Antoine said.

Of the roughly $2.3 million pledged thus far for relief efforts coming out of North Shore-LIJ, more than $2 million had come from a fund-raising event held last week in Manhattan, the health system said.

CEO Dowling said the money would be completely dedicated to helping caregivers rebuild their lives.

“Their extraordinary self-sacrifice, dedication and commitment are truly inspiring,” Dowling said. “Equally inspiring is the outpouring of support from North Shore-LIJ employees for their struggling workers. I extend my deepest appreciation to all of our employees who have generously donated money and time off to their colleagues in need.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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