The Troy family was devastated by the loss of their home to Hurricane Sandy. With their home gutted, they had no place to go, until now.
Kerry and Chris Troy were struggling. They had no idea where they would be spending their holidays after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the family home. For the first week they took their three children Ryan 13, Connor 12, and Katie 4, to relatives homes. Then they managed to get a hotel for another week, but after that their fortune had run out. Hotels were full, apartment buildings were rented out, and the family began spending their time in hurricane relief centers just to keep warm at night.
To make matters worse, the post-Thanksgiving trip granted to the Troy’s paid for by the Make-A-Wish foundation to benefit their son Connor looked like it was about to be cancelled.
Connor suffers from a life-threatening, neuromuscular disease. One of his wheelchairs was badly damaged by the storm. His oxygen equipment and other medical supplies weren’t fairing much better. The 12 year-old was confused and disoriented. Now, it seemed the storm would cost him his dream of meeting Kermit the Frog.
In the span of just a few hours the bleak circumstances that surrounded the family changed.
First, a school administrator pulled Kerry aside when she was picking up her daughter Katie. The administrator had a vacant summer home, large and fully furnished that the owners wished to donated to the displaced family. The Troy’s could live there, at no cost, until they were able to full sort out what they needed to in order to survive. It looked like the might be able to make it out to Disney after all.
This, however, it just the beginning.
Kerry received a cryptic text from Sister Diane of St. Ignatius Martyr Church.
“A man is going to call. You must answer the phone.”
The man’s name was Donald Denihan.
Donald Denihan is a 51-year-old businessman from Massapequa. He came and saw the devastation that Sandy had caused and offered to help one family rebuild. He agreed t pay for everything from the cost of demolition to the new paint on the house. He wanted to find the right family, and so he asked Monsignor Beckmann of St. Ignatius to help him find that family.
Monsignor Beckmann and Sister Diane took Denihan to the small ranch that belonged to the Troy’s and told him about their plight. That they had evacuated to Connecticut to take care of their sick son, and how they were struggling to make ends meet.
The Troy’s home was not the only one visited that day. Denihan visited another home that belonged to a 74-year-old cook, who had climbed a ladder to escape the flood. The woman could do nothing but watch and pray as her disabled son nearly drowned in his wheelchair below.
Denihan weighed his decision carefully but in the end could not choose between the two families.
So he decided to help both.
Nothing prepared Chris and Kerry for the miracle that was about to be bestowed on them. Chris had thought maybe the family would get some sheet rock, or a generator. After walking through the home, and speaking with the children, Denihan took the couple aside on their porch.
He then told them that he would rebuild their home. They could make any alterations they needed, like installing a wheelchair accessible shower for Connor.
“I’ll take care of everything,” Denihan said. “And we’ll start first thing tomorrow.”
“This stranger walks into our lives and offers not just to rebuild our home, but to build us a better home,” said Kerry Ann. “And another family lends us their home. It’s absolutely a miracle.”
The couple struggled with how to thank Denihan, who is just happy that he could be in the position to help. His contractors offered to do the work for free or at cost. He hopes that others will hear the story, and step to help the Sandy victims in the same way.
And for the first time in two months, the Troy family will have a home. More importantly, they have hope.