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Volunteers Help Fix Sandy-Damaged Freeport House After Homeowner Loses Eyesight

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Three years after Superstorm Sandy struck, thousands of damaged homes are still not fully repaired, including 1,500 homes on Long Island alone.

On Tuesday, volunteers helped put a dent in that number by lending a helping hand to a Sandy victim who lost his sight after his home was flooded out.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, 57-year-old Medardo Sosa is legally blind, but could hear the sounds of rebuilding as a dozen workers stripped the walls bare in his basement.

"Everything is damaged downstairs. Afterward, there was a lot of mold, the electricity is not working very well," Sosa's sister, Marla.

Sosa is from El Salvador and speaks very little English. A translator said that after the floodwaters came, he began losing his sight from a retinal disease.

Sosa has endured many sleepless nights, worried he would lose the home he provides for his mother and two children.

"This poor family, everything came at once; the vision, he couldn't work and couldn't pay the mortgage," said Margarita Grasing, with Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre.

And he couldn't afford to fix his home, even as he and his family continued to live there.

But now, state grant money is paying for the licensed contractors who will rewire the electricity, even as volunteers like Rafael Diaz provide the muscle for the dirty work.

"We're out here giving back to the community. We're all Long Islanders, and I jumped at the chance," Diaz said.

Sitting right on the water with many canals, Freeport was a central target when the storm slammed ashore three years ago, Carrasco reported.

"Freeport was very hard hit. A lot of homeowners in this area, we've probably helped over 100 families just in Freeport alone," said Theresa Regnante, with United Way of Long Island.

Through a translator, Sosa said he is overwhelmed by the generosity of his neighbors.

"God is good, and God helps," he said. "So, a big thank you to everyone."

If the weather cooperates, it is hoped that work will be completed within two weeks.

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