Irish man's sons die in US storm

Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 00:00

It was like a scene from a horror film, a young mother stranded in a powerful storm, forced to abandon her car with two young children as floodwater threatened to drown them.

For Glenda Moore, who is married to Donegal-born Damien, an employee at the New York City Sanitation Department, the horror of losing her sons to Sandy’s waters is still all too real.

According to reports, Ms Moore, a nurse, lost her under-arm grip of two-year old Brandon, and four-year-old Connor to powerful winds and rising waves.

The youngsters’ bodies were recovered by the NYPD Scuba Unit from a marsh on Thursday. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who made a surprise visit to survey Staten Island storm wreckage today, said that their death “compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event.”

“Cops were in there hip deep trying to get them,” a witness said.

“In the whirlwind of grief and sadness, this is a tragedy no matter what way you look at it, but it hits home a little bit harder knowing that the youngsters were part of our community,” Director of the New York Irish Center Paul Finnegan told The Irish Times.

“I haven’t yet heard of any organized effort for the Moores, but I’m sure the community will gather very quickly to help,” said Finnegan, adding that the network of Irish-American organisations citywide are doing all they can to help grief-stricken people in need.

This morning, most of Manhattan returned to normal, but Staten Islanders say events like the Moore tragedy mean it’s a far cry from ‘forgive and forget’ in their neighborhood.

“We’re not letting it die out now that the city is going back to normal. We’re kind of a forgotten borough - but it’s pretty obvious by now that we’ve all come together to help each other out, ” said Dawn Daniels, an Irish dance teacher whose family comes from Cork.

Ms Daniels lives close to the Staten Island ferry across form Manhattan, just four miles from the Moores' neighborhood in the Great Kills section of Staten Island. Their neighborhood was not an evacuation zone.

A local fundraising page was created by David Parks and posted online, dedicated to “Glenda and her family to purchase two plots for her babies and to give them respect and funeral they deserve.” Mr Parks urged people to spread the message on Facebook and “get the word out.”

Different stories are circulating about the circumstances of the boys’ death, with some reports incriminating a neighbour that Ms Moore had first called upon in search of help the morning after the storm.

Ms Moore’s cousin described the ordeal to the New York Daily News, saying that she couldn't believe how neighbors reacted to her calls for help: “the first person she knocked on, she begged them and said: "Please call 911" and they told her "I don't know you" and closed the door.”

Confusion and an outpouring of grief isn’t limited to Staten Island, especially among Irish-Americans. Community solidarity and prayers for the family was the message of people like Niall O’Leary, former President of the Irish Business Organization of New York.

“Hopefully in time, the family will heal from this calamitous event. "