Imagine the power going out across your hometown, and watching in horror as water rises at a staggering pace in the streets and homes in the place you and your family call home.
Now imagine being almost 1,000 miles away and having no choice but to watch the tragedy unfold on tv.
That is the reality for Milwaukee Admirals defenseman Anthony Bitetto. The 22-year old 2010 draft pick of the Nashville Predators is a native of Island Park, New York, which is located in Nassau County in New York's Long Island area. Although his hockey career has taken him to Indiana, Massachusetts and now Wisconsin, Bitetto is a New Yorker through and through. His family and friends still reside in the Island Park area, so the news of Hurricane Sandy's arrival and aftermath hit especially close to home for him.
Bitetto has set up an online donation site on fundly.com to raise money for his home town, which has been completely destroyed by Sandy.
"It's devestating. Our fire house was completely destroyed, there is concern over contamination because of the overflowing sewage, and the town is still without power. The water has been shut off, and to make matters worse, downed power lines are causing fires. It's just terrible."
In Bitetto's own home, there is three feet of standing water, and drywall is literally crumbling off the walls. He has made contact with family and friends, and thankfully, they are safe and sound. When Bitetto had spoken with his parents Friday morning, they were in line to pick up cases of water from one of the several food/water PODS near some of the schools in Island Park.
The young defenseman grew up in Island Park, and started off his hockey career with the Empire Junior Hockey League's New York Apple Core hockey club before making the jump to the USHL's Indiana Ice. He returned to the north east to play for Northeastern University in Boston. To read a little more about Bitetto' hockey career, check out my article on him from back in August by clicking here.
As of 2pm today, Bitetto's Hurricane Support for Island Park NY site has raised almost $5,000 to help the battered town get back on its feet. When I spoke to Bitetto about his fundly.com donation site, I was struck with how incredible humbled he was to have had so many donations since the fund opened a week ago. He's a class act, and his love for his hometown lit up his face like a christmas tree. Thankfully, his family and friends are okay, but they have a long road ahead of them as Island Park begins to rebuild from this natural disaster.
I ask each and every one of you to visit Bitetto's site ANTHONY BITETTO HURRICANE SUPPORT FOR ISLAND PARK NY on fundly.com and make a donation today. You can donate as little as $10, and each and every penny you donate goes directly to Island Park, NY to be used for relief efforts. Several of Bitetto's teammates, as well as other members of the Nashville Predators organization have contributed to this wonderful cause. Many Admirals fans have also contributed, and I hope that you will join us. Island Park is one of the many towns in the north east that were completely demolished from Hurricane Sandy, and I hope you'll join me in making a donation to help the community get back on its feet.
To make a donation at Bitetto's page on fundly.com, click here
To follow Bitetto on twitter for updates from Island Park, click here
To visit the Village of Island Park facebook page, click here