First families arrive in Ogunquit for week of respite from Sandy | News

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First families arrive in Ogunquit for week of respite from Sandy

OGUNQUIT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Ogunquit is playing host to a smaller number of people whose lives were turned upside down by Superstorm Sandy than they anticipated, but those who are here are very thankful.

Best friends Toni Antonio and Anne Butler arrived in Ogunquit from Long Island Sunday. Butler lost virtually all her possessions in her flooded house, where she lived for 47 years. Antonio has less damage, but lost her husband just a week before the storm. She got her power back Saturday.

Dozens of businesses in Ogunquit have offered free room, board, transportation, clothes and other amenities to those able to come to town for the next 5 days. Antonio and Butler are very grateful for the opportunity to be here.

"I know I have to go through some grieving period," Butler said, "{Antonio} has to go through a grieving period for her husband who was a wonderful, wonderful man. And maybe we can find some time on this trip to cry together and mourn our losses together."

Many of the people who had planned to come to Ogunquit have cancelled because they have meetings with an insurance adjuster, or are afraid their homes will be looted. The Chamber of Commerce, which is organizing this effort, says that it is making sure that donations are going to those who need them, even if those people do not come to the community. The Chamber was once hoping to get 50 families. Now it expects fewer than 10 will be able to come. It is getting in touch with those who made monetary donations, offering refunds to anyone who is not comfortable with the change in mission.

The Chamber also is hoping that its effort might inspire those in towns closer to the damage to make a similar offer to Sandy survivors.


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