In 1999 Chris Re ’78 was at work at his insurance agency on Long Island when a call came from his College roommate, Phi Delta Theta brother, and best friend Craig “Sab” Sabatino ’78. “His father was having elective surgery and things did not go well,” said Re. “He called me to give me a heads-up.”
Unbeknownst to Sabatino, Re left for Philadelphia immediately. He arrived at the hospital room as Sabatino came out, moments after his dad had passed away. “I could tell it was important to him that I was there,” said Re. “To me it was only an act of kindness. An act of friendship. I knew he would do the same for me.”
And he did. On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, including Re’s home in Massapequa, New York. “In a matter of hours, we were homeless. I didn’t know how long it would take me to rebuild or if I would be able to rebuild my house.”
The first call Re received was from Sabatino, who heads a large private construction firm near
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He wanted to know what Re needed to recover—men, materials, money?
“I told him we were OK, I had ten guys coming the next day to rip my house apart,” said Re. “After that, he called every forty-five minutes. After two hours I had to stop answering.”
The next day Re called his staff in early. He arrived at the agency at 7 a.m. to hundreds of people in line to file their claims. When he checked his work phone, there were sixty-two messages. “The first fifty were from Gettysburg classmates, coaches, and alums, each asking what they could do for me.”
That night, Re parked in his driveway, baseball bat at hand to ward off looters in the upscale Long Island neighborhood. “There were no lights, power lines and trees were down all over, and there was debris everywhere,” he said.
His phone rang at 10:30 p.m. Sabatino again: “Look, I know you’re busy, but there must be something I can do for you.”
Chris relented. “There’s so much debris, salt water, oil, and sewage all over that my contractors blew their generator. I can’t buy another because they are all sold out, can’t find one to rent, and even if I could get one, I can’t get gas,” Re said.
Headlights came down the street at 2:30 a.m. “A truck pulls in and it’s my buddy Sab,” said Re. “He could have sent any one of his 350 staffs to Long Island, but he came himself. We unloaded the generator and gas. I couldn’t even invite him in. He got back in his truck and drove home.”Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2014
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