NEW YORK – Every family on Staten Island was touched by Superstorm Sandy’s wrath. Only one was touched by Con Edison’s Daniel Pontecorvo’s goodness.
“I just wanted to do the right thing,” he said.
His “right thing” was re-uniting a family with jewelry that had been swept away by Sandy’s high tides. On Wednesday, Evie Bobe of Midland Beach, Staten Island, got her family keepsakes back.
Pontecorvo, a senior scientist at the company’s chemistry laboratory and an environmental emergency responder, joined more than two dozen Con Edison and New York City volunteers on Saturday for a post-Sandy cleanup through debris that he called “a terrible scene.”
Slogging through wetlands on the borough’s East Shore and carrying black trash bags, he and others filled them with the remnants of children’s bedrooms and family living rooms.
Pontecorvo, a 13-year company veteran and retired FDNY lieutenant, stooped to pick up a freezer bag filled with water. Pontecorvo’s post-Sandy’s duties included assisting out-of-town crews on Staten Island, while he coped with a damaged roof on his own home.
“I could see gold jewelry (inside).” At the suggestion of a Con Edison colleague in the cleanup, Pontecorvo took it to the local daily newspaper, The Staten Island Advance, which published photos of the jewelry. That led Ms. Bobe to claim her belongings.
“I just wanted to do the right thing. I hope a family gets the jewelry, the lockets and charms,” said Pontecorvo, who also gave the paper color photographs that he had found near the jewelry.
"These are memories here. These people lost their homes. I just want to give them their memories back," he said.