By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/22/12
Carson Cocco was pleased to give his time Tuesday with ManUp Lacrosse teammate Ryan Hilburn to help in the cleanup efforts for Hurricane Sandy victims on Long Beach Island.
The two Malvern Prep juniors worked 10 straight hours helping remove debris and sand from people’s yards and trash from their homes.
“Today I realized how fortunate I am to not have suffered the severe damages that many have faced because of Hurricane Sandy,” said Cocco, a goalie. “I also realized how much of an impact I can make in helping make a difference through these difficult times.
“Although it was a small effort, it was a great feeling to know that I was helping people put their lives back together.”
Cocco was stunned to see so much damage and so many people in need of assistance weeks after the hurricane hit. Many of the residents had the entire contents of their homes sitting in the front yard; some had as much as 3 feet of sand in their kitchens and mold growing everywhere.
“The island was filled with trash and sand,” he said. “The streets were filled with people’s trash because everything in their house was ruined. Most of the yards were covered in feet of sand.”
The boys found that nearly every house has water damage. Most have sand damage and some also have wind damage. Gas service for many homes has been out for more than 3 weeks and the locals have no heat.
ManUp’s mission is to give back through community service. Cocco believes these types of service activities help him to appreciate what he has and why it’s so important to help others – especially during a holiday when people need a boost.
“I think it’s very important to help people around this time of year because it’s the holidays and the last thing you would want to be worrying about is the mess that Sandy left,” he said. “During this time of year people should be focused on spending time with their family and friends.
“I hope our efforts will make their holidays as enjoyable as possible.”
Cocco said he is thankful for his good health and good fortune and looks forward to helping others again.
“I definitely appreciate what good fortune I have even more,” he said. “It’s hard to think about how things can change so drastically in a short amount of time.
“Times like these help me remember what is really important in life, and I appreciate the fact that I can learn from this experience and be even more grateful this Thanksgiving.”