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King George man who grew up on Jersey shore will spend Thanksgiving week helping those who suffered in wake of Hurricane Sandy
Salmeri takes a call about a donation to help Superstorm Sandy victims.
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By CATHY DYSON
Phil Salmeri will spend Thanksgiving at the Jersey shore, like he's always done, but this visit won't focus on food, family and watching rival high school teams play football.
The King George County man will spend the holiday week cutting downed trees, clearing mud and muck and doing anything he can to help those who suffered some of the worst devastation from Superstorm Sandy.
"It will feel good to do something, to help somebody out," Salmeri said. "We have everything, and these people have nothing."
Salmeri, who is retired from the Air Force and civil service, also will take donations he's collected. He's put up fliers around Dahlgren and contacted business people he knows through his work in government contracting.
He hopes to give sizable sums to at least four or five people who need help the most. His relatives will help him find minimum-wage earners, such as the people who clean the veterinary office where his sister works.
"I'd rather see five people get $1,000 apiece rather than a bunch of people get $100," he said. "And, I'm gonna make sure a doctor or lawyer doesn't get it, that's for damn sure."
AREA LEFT IN SHAMBLES
Salmeri, 66, grew up in Monmouth County, a shorefront community that was left in shambles after Sandy walloped New Jersey and New York in late October.
As a kid, Salmeri used to ride his bike to the shore and body surf. His backyard would flood from time to time from its closeness to two rivers--the Navesink and Shrewsbury--but nothing like the damage caused by the hurricane.
Whole towns were swallowed by sand and water. Beach clubs and areas that Salmeri frequented--in Seabright and Monmouth, Atlantic Highlands and Keyport--were destroyed or damaged heavily, the result of 14-foot storm surges.
Salmeri's sister and family in Middletown were spared. They were without electricity for two weeks, but went out to help others before their heat and hot water returned.
Salmeri's sister, Kathy Nesci, is a veterinary surgeon, and her husband, Steve, a retired state trooper. He helped Salmeri's son, Jason, get his job as a New Jersey state trooper.
Donations can be sent to M&MH Design, 13242 Laurel Lane, King George, Va. 22485.