A woman named Maureen Stark, a Suffolk County park police officer who was a first responder during 9/11, had just finished paying off her Lindenhurst home when Superstorm Sandy struck. This single mother of 2 had lived in the home for 28 years and had never experienced flooding.

In 2012, her luck ran out.

The first floor of her home was all but destroyed. Her kitchen needed complete demolition and repair. The sheetrock and the appliances had to be torn out. The entire first floor was unlivable.

She hired a contractor to help her remove all of the damaged interior. But after receiving payment, he disappeared.

During the repair process, a local police Officer from the 6th Precinct, Officer Sanchez, surveyed the damage. He knew he could help.

Officer Sanchez volunteered for four days with his two sons to help with demolition of the kitchen to help prepare it for repairs, saving her significant time and money.

He told Maureen, “This is the first time I’ve tried to solder anything. I hope it works!”

Spoiler alert: it worked. Officer Sanchez went above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate the humanity that marks the SCPD. They answer the call, whether they are on duty or not.

Later, through the Robin Hood Foundation, the United Way was able to finish the repairs of the kitchen and to finally give her the home she deserves.

This Thanksgiving, she was able to prepare a meal for her children the way she’d dreamed of since Sandy first hit. And when she counted her blessings, the United Way and Officer Sanchez was counted among them.