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Hurricane Sandy Rescue Story: Our Home Is Destroyed, But We Are Safe

Last year, when Hurricane Irene struck the tri-state region, Warren and Kate Sherwood heeded the mandatory evacuation orders and left their Long Beach residence.

Fortunately, Irene caused only minor damage to their home. But they were not as lucky this time around.

"Even though we were in the evacuation zone, after last year wasn't so bad we decided to ride this one out and stay home," says Warren.

But Hurricane Sandy surpassed even their biggest fears.

"I've never in my life seen anything like it," says Kate. "We barely got out of our house in time. The water is at least five feet deep."

As a precaution, the Sherwoods  had booked a hotel in a nearby town away from the flood zone; they managed to leave Long Beach Monday as the storm was at its worst and drive to the hotel. They snuck their two cats, Schwartz and Scooter, into the building, but had to bring them back to their Long Beach home after a few days--a decision that scared them to their core.

"Even though the cats were on the second floor, we couldn't bear the thought of them being in the cold and dark," says Kate. The couple also feared that they might be prohibited from visiting their home once electric and gas repair work begins.

On Sunday, November 4, the Sherwoods brought Schwartz and Scooter to the emergency animal shelter at Mitchel Field, where they know their beloved cats will be safe.

"The truth is, we feel very lucky," says Warren. "We all got out safely and are alive."

Five houses on their block were burned to the ground, which makes them feel even more grateful, despite the severe damage to their home.

"We cannot thank all of you enough," says Kate to the team of staff and volunteers as tears welled in her eyes. As she gave a big hug to one of the animal rescue workers, she adds, "Knowing that our cats are safe, warm and loved makes all the difference in the world."

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