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They’ll Be Home For Christmas

A Massapequa family is finally home for the holidays.

The Henry family will sleep in their Forest Avenue home for the first time since Oct. 29, 2012 — the day Hurricane Sandy destroyed everything they had. But even with the immense loss caused by the superstorm, the Henry family still calls themselves “lucky.”

For the past year, a volunteer organization called New York Says Thank You has worked tirelessly to fix floors, put in insulation, paint walls and much more. Since Sandy hit, volunteers have helped repair and rebuild more than 80 homes of first responders. Anthony Henry is a firefighter who was battling blazes in Breezy Point, Queens the night of the storm. He never thought he would come home to find his family homeless.

“It has been a year of despair, loss and hope. Today, we find ourselves overjoyed,” he said.

That “joy” is also because of a special Christmas delivery from KPMG. The global audit, tax and financial advisory firm has donated nearly 2,000 volunteer hours since the storm. On Friday, Dec. 20 members from the Long Island office presented the Henry family with a $10,000 check during a morning live shot on WPIX. Beth Henry, who is a schoolteacher, cried when she saw what she called a “Christmas miracle.”

“I lost hope so many times but then I would see these volunteers helping me and I knew I couldn’t give up,” she said.

Tony Dalessio is a managing partner of KPMG who lives and works on Long Island. He said joining New York Says Thank You to help local families has highlighted his firm’s connection to the community.

“Teaming up with New York Says Thank You since the storm has truly made a difference in the communities we live and work in,” said Dalessio. “Our firm is so happy that we could help the Henry’s.”

But New York Says Thank You and KPMG had some help from Reporter Mary Murphy and her photographer Keith Lopez. Lopez lives in and covers Long Island. Both have reported on the Henry family journey for the past six months. It was through their television coverage that an anonymous donor from North Dakota saw one of their stories and donated $25,000. Another anonymous gift was left in the Henry’s mailbox. It was a silver necklace for Beth with the word “Hope.”

Christmas is a time for magic and miracles. The Henry family says they have experienced both.