The majority of Hurricane Sandy coverage has taught us that (1) nature is fucking terrifying (2) people’s reactions to nature are often really annoying. However, sometimes there are redeeming stories that surface to remind us that even the worst of events can bring out the best in some people.
Zoe Everett, 19, was a regular Rutgers student when Hurricane Sandy blew into Randolph, NJ, where her family lived. Her parents, Rich and Beth Everett, and two youngest siblings were driving home from checking on their horses as the storm approached on October 29th. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew a tree onto their truck, killing both parents while the children managed to make it out with minor injuries.
Zoe, who is the oldest child in her family, realized that she now needed to take care of her younger siblings, ages 17, 14 and 11. Being a college student and not exactly financially stable enough to care for three other people and herself, she realized she needed help, so Zoe posted on the website Wish Upon A Hero with a plea for help:
I now have two goals: caring for and being guardian of my three younger siblings and keeping my family in the house we grew up in. It is challenging realizing what a lengthy process everything and anything seems to be. Money is stuck in limbo and I’m doing everything I can to keep my family’s stability in place. School is no longer a priority, but still a goal I am determined to achieve, but my family, my siblings, come first. I love them more than they could ever fathom and I am ready and willing to put any amount of weight on my shoulders to lessen the load on theirs. They are children who deserve to be kids and enjoy the life they have lying before them. I am going to be strong for them. I am going to be wise. I am going to be patient. But I won’t be naive, and I won’t say that I don’t need help. Our immediate needs are to pay for groceries and bills in the upcoming months. Every donation is vital to the health and comfort of my siblings I care for and love.”
She asked for about $5,000 in order to get them through the next few months of struggles. Instead, she received $50,000 in just 24 hours.
Having had no idea that this much money would be raised, she wrote a statement expressing their “sincerest thanks for the overwhelming support and generosity shown to us. Wish Upon a Hero has raised funds for my family that have exceeded our wildest dreams.” While this is wonderful that at least the surviving members of her family won’t have to worry about food and shelter within the coming months, of course it is still tragic to an infinite degree that their parents were killed. She apparently declined an interview with ABC News, and I can’t remotely blame her: as much as this takes away some of the added stress that comes with any familial death, it doesn’t take away the death itself and for that, I am so sorry to her family. However, I am also deeply thrilled that there are people being so kind to one another–especially strangers–in the aftermath of such a devastating event.