Working Toward Normalcy

Warren ChabotWarren “Drew” Chabot is being honored as a Champion of Change for the leadership he demonstrated in his involvement in response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

On 10/1/2012 I moved to a small 2 bedroom beach bungalow just 3 houses away from the ocean and 2 blocks away from my parents’ house where I grew up. Little did I know that just a few weeks later my life as well as so many others would be changed forever.

On 10/29/2012 hurricane sandy hit the Jersey shore with such force that many "old salts" had never seen. I remember I the week leading up to the storm you could hear the old timers at the local bars talking about how this one was gonna rival the storm of 62.

I had evacuated my home on the 29th; my parents had left the day before. My evacuation was something you would see in the movies nobody was left, the westbound bridge off the barrier island was impassable because the telephone poles were snapped in half and laying across the roadway, so the only way out was across the east bound bridge. I arrived at my aunts which is about a mile away from the water I figured everything would be ok and I would be back home the next day. At 2am the next morning I realized the severity of the situation when my aunts neighbor banged on the door because their house was taking on water and they needed help getting to higher ground. If it flooded a mile inland I knew the island was in rough shape.

In the next week a childhood friend Scott Zabelski who owns a screen printing shop had an idea to print apparel with a simple "restore the shore" logo and donate $5 from every tshirt sale and $10 from every sweatshirt sale to help those affected by the storm. It started off with giftcards going to those in the shelters, then came safety equipment for homeowners, then donations to police and fire houses effected. Anything we could do to continue to help those in need. To date over $500,000 has been donated.

Through this work I had made a lot of connections with nonprofit organizations that were switching from relief to long term recovery.

As a Home Depot employee I thought it would be great if I could partner a large company like Home Depot with these organizations that were helping so many people. With these charities the cheaper they can get materials the more people we can help! I was able to bring together 3 nonprofits I had been working with for a meeting with our RVP and district manager as well as store leadership to discuss how we could become a valuable partner with them to complete their mission.

We are currently working with Waves4Water on completing 8 projects that will be getting people’s homes safe so they can move back in.

Warren “Drew” Chabot started printing and selling “Restore the Shore” sweatshirts and t-shirts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. $10 from every sweatshirt and $5 from every t-shirt went back to the affected people in the community.

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