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Sean 'Sully' Sullivan, owner of Swingbelly's BBQ Restaurant in Long Beach Photo by: Ian Spanier

Everyday heroes of Hurricane Sandy - New York civilian first responders honored - PHOTOS

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Sean 'Sully' Sullivan, owner of Swingbelly's BBQ Restaurant in Long Beach Photo by: Ian Spanier

Check out Ian Spanier's photos here

With the devastation of Superstorm Sandy on the coastal city of Long Beach, New York, thousands of lives were turned upside down as people lost everything in one night, but that didn’t stop many citizens helping out in their communities despite the hardships they were experiencing themselves.

They didn’t just concentrate on their own problems, they rushed to help their neighbours and communities in the best way they possibly could.

These people offered food, manual labour, physical help, toys, somewhere to sleep and all kinds of other support. Sometimes just even just a smile and a shoulder to cry on.

According to Mail Online, Bryan Murphy, a local realtor, turned community organizer, evacuated during the storm but returned the next day and sprung into action when he recognized that people needed to quickly get soaked items out of their homes.

'We went door to door, assessing the needs of victims, and delivered the goods to them,' he explained.

Murphy lives and works in Long Beach and froze his life to assist in the recovery. His own real estate office was set to open in November, however it flooded during the storm.

He cleaned it up, tore out the brand new carpet he had just laid down. Taking advantage of his office space, Murphy set up a tool and supply library, allowing residents to borrow tools to help with their own demolition and rebuilding efforts.

His open door helped so many residents who couldn't get to a hardware store. With the sheer number of affected homes, owners and renters who had no means to hire workers found a much needed helping hand, often wielding a sledgehammer.

Check out Ian Spanier's photos here

Mail Online reports that Douglas O'Grady, a carpenter by trade and turned local hero, was dealing with 7 feet of water in his own basement, 'Dougie' as his friends call him, turned to Facebook to organize groups of volunteers.

His goal was to help as many people as possible with the daunting task of emptying the wet contents of the flooded homes, before mold destroyed what was left of the structures.

“People just kept contacting me to help, I just wrangled them together,” he said.

To date, he has helped over 100 residents who will be forever grateful and he is now focusing on helping people through the rebuilding process, his goal of making Long Beach stronger than ever before.

Sean 'Sully' Sullivan, owner of Swingbelly's BBQ Restaurant in Long Beach was affected personally and professionally by the storm, the Mail Online reports.

Having sustained damage to his popular restaurant and his home, it would have been easy for him to become completely immersed in his own responsibilities. However, Sully decided to do what he does best, help people.

'After the storm, I didn't know what to do with myself. So I went down to the restaurant, [setting up his BBQ outside], and fed people bbq and beer,' he recalled.

He didn't stop there as the next day he served his succulent smoked pork and sides for the police and firemen at city hall. A few days later participated in a 'Sunday Dinner' for over 1,000 people.

Having run out of money, he and his wife Kelly spearheaded a fundraising effort to raise money for a Thanksgiving Feast in which over 1,500 people were fed that day.

These people are the everyday heroes of Long Beach, New York including Ed Oliva, Debora Staiano, James Hodge, Gary Johnson, George Gentilesco Sr., and Joanna Sofield.

The shots in the slideshow were taken by acclaimed photographer Ian Spanier. The text describing each selfless volunteer was written by Carrie Vining Spanier, according to Mail Online.

Check out Ian Spanier's photos here

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