On Veterans Day, New York City was graced with a small-scale invasion of good will and selfless service. Hundreds of military veterans from across the country arrived in New York City to help rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. They moved from one house to the next, Street by street in Rockaway Beach, NY, clearing debris, repairing homes, doing assessments of damage, offering the occasional hug. It's called Team Rubicon, a program that marshals the skills and training and experience of military veterans and aims these resources where they are most needed. As the program's website puts it: "Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with medical professionals to rapidly deploy emergency response teams into crisis situations." It not only helps the victims of a disaster, but it also enables these heroes to extend their service in immensely constructive ways. It's only one example of the everyday self-sacrifice and dedication that volunteers have brought to the scene of this disaster.
These servicemen aren't alone in their selfless dedication. Hurricane Sandy has brought out the hero in thousands of volunteers who responded by putting themselves at the service of those in need, day after day -- many of whom are still without power even now. Early on in the crisis, a small group of devoted nurses at Langone Medical Center quickly became a symbol of human goodness in the face of adversity. My friend Polly McTaggart called my attention to a recent ABC segment on these nurses, and it's inspiring. When lower Manhattan lost power, seven NYU nurses acted fast to preserve the lives of these infants who need intense care simply to keep breathing. Their dedication and love became an early symbol of the care that thousands of volunteers brought to NYC residents in need after the storm. These nurses, while moving the fragile human beings down a set of stairs to get them out of the blacked-out hospital, had to keep them breathing manually and used monitors strung around their necks to keep an eye on vital signs as they measured each downward step, trying not to injure the infants.
"I was not taking my eyes off that baby, nor that tube," one of the nurses said.
As the ABC report put it: "If often takes the worst to bring out the very best in people. The heroes of Hurricane Sandy are out in full force."
What have you done to help the victims? What can you still do?
Georgescu is the author of "The Constant Choice."