2 Queens men back in their homes nearly 2 years after Superstorm Sandy

ROCKAWAY PARK (WABC) -- Two Queens men displaced by Superstorm Sandy are finally back in their homes nearly two years later, and they're thanking the work of strangers who donated their time and money.

Two ribbon cuttings were held across the street from each other in Rockaway Park Tuesday, as Gerard Dunne and David Lonergan returned home.

David's new bungalow has a new kitchen, new bedrooms and new bath.

"It was too much mold for the city," he said. "So I had to take care of it myself."

As for Gerard's home, everything had to be replaced. The work on each house ran less than $20,000, and most of the labor was free, done by volunteers.

"So it's been New York Disaster Interfaith Services, Catholic Charities, Friends of the Rockaways, St. Bernard and hundreds of volunteers," said Reese May, of the St. Bernard Project.

Two doors down from the house just finished, a "restricted" sign still hangs, the home uninhabited. So what made the difference? People who gave $5, $10, whatever they could. That's what made it happen.

About 75 percent of the costs were covered by charities, with the rest coming from FEMA.

Dunne lost his wife Pattie to ALS a few months before the storm hit, and the one/two punch was too much for him.

"I had no enthusiasm to fix what mess was downstairs, just didn't care," he said. "She'd be thrilled."

Since then, he has been living on his second floor with, guess who?, his neighbor David, using a makeshift kitchen to get by until now, when both houses were finished.

"Only one word for this - awesome," Lonergan said. "There have been some problems, but it's worth it."
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.