Today is the first Monday after my SCA Sandy Recovery crew ended, and it feels… weird. I knew things would change as we all went our separate ways, but this is different. I can’t help thinking what I would have been doing if I was at work right now. I’m receiving texts from fellow crew members who are expressing the same sentiments, so I know I am not alone.
Last week was bittersweet. We continued our work and were able to finalize most of our projects. The sand dunes were completed, and our fences weren’t far behind. Taking a step back and realizing all that we accomplished, I was overcome with emotion. I felt so proud that we were able to make a difference. Every time I walk on the Midland Beach Boardwalk now, I’ll recall all of the amazing memories I made with SCA. That last day of work, as we cleaned up the tools and washed the vans, was surreal. It hadn’t hit us yet that our time together this summer was coming to a close.
On Friday, our SCA crew officially came to an end. We had a graduation ceremony on Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for all of the crews that were part of the Hurricane Sandy Recovery program. There were presentations and acknowledgements of those involved; SCA wanted to make sure we were properly thanked for all of the hard work we did. Afterward, we were treated to lunch and I sang an impromptu rendition of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. As the end of the day neared, one of my crew leaders, Ju, gave each of us a yearbook full of journal entries and thoughtful notes. We were able to write in each other’s books to express how much we loved working with each person. I thought this was the perfect end to the day. As we hugged and said our goodbyes, it was dawning on us that we would probably not see each other for awhile. I could feel my heart aching as our van pulled away.
My days are definitely different now: it is strange not seeing my crew’s familiar faces each day, but I know our bond will last; and every time we pass by the work we’ve completed, we will think of each other and the times we’ve shared. I loved working for SCA this summer and I look forward to staying involved and experiencing so much more! Hopefully SCA will continue to provide opportunities like this in the future.