Marines for Humanity

Marines for Humanity

Yousaf Sheikh, a poolee with Recruiting Station New York, sands the back porch while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds and fixes homes for the less fortunate, in a two-story home on Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., on 28 May, 2016, that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2013. Photo by Cpl Brandon Thomas.

Coney Island, N.Y. – Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen came together 28 May, 2016, to help those whose homes were damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2013.

The service members teamed up with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds and repairs homes for the less fortunate, to assist the victims of Hurricane Sandy. 

"We have Marines, we have sailors, and we have members of the Coast Guard at two sites across the city today," said Elizabeth Tietien, the marketing and communication's manager for Habitat for Humanity New York City. "Here in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the service members are doing a critical home repair. This home was damaged by Sandy almost 3 years ago."

For the volunteers, this was a way to give back to the American community, but for a few, this house repair was a bit more personal.

"I was partially affected by Hurricane Sandy," said Yousaf Sheikh, a Marine enlistee and volunteer. "When the storm hit, I was at my aunt's home. We lost electricity and the basement flooded pretty badly, but all-in-all, the house was ok. 

"So I thought, why not help someone who had it worse than me. I had a home, and these people, for the last 3 years, have lived in a damaged home."

The home repair is definitely great for the family, but according to Sgt Gilbert Ragudo, a recruiter with Recruiting Station New York, it's an opportunity for them as well.

"This is a great opportunity for the Marines and poolees to give back to their communities," said Ragudo. "The community supports us and allows us to do what we do. It's just great to give back at the community level."

From Ragudo, the mentor, to Sheikh, the mentee, the desire to give back is echoed.

"One day, I'm going to be serving my country," said Sheikh. "So I think a small step towards that would be doing something to give back to my community.

Other people may look at me and say ‘hey, maybe I should do something like this.' So it feels good to be here and give back."

"Influencing others to do great things is the very meaning of leadership, said Ragudo. "I hope that the community will see and understand that the Marines are not only about going somewhere else, but that we are always here to give back."