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Staten Island ceremony awards immigrants for Sandy relief efforts

We've written before about immigrants doing their part to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. No one doubts that this has been a tough time for many New Yorkers, especially those on Staten Island. Recently, a number of immigrants were honored for their unselfish acts of citizenship in the wake of the storm.

The ceremony was held at the Turkish Cultural Center in the Dongan Hills neighborhood of Staten Island. Seven immigrants from a range of countries were recognized for their good deeds.

Mold in homes has been a major problem after the storm, and one Palestinian man, whose parents immigrated from Nablus and Jerusalem, was honored for his efforts to remove mold from homes on the island. He also founded the Staten Island volunteer organization called Yellow Team, which continues to help in the rebuilding process.

A Syrian immigrant was also awarded. He lost his home to the storm, but he still established a free store for area residents. The store is still in operation and provides emergency supplies and food.

A man of Russian ancestry was also recognized. He helped coordinate a free Occupy Sandy store in Midland Beach. He also coordinated the tool lending library there and helped translate for the Russian community.

Four other award recipients are affiliated with different organizations, including El Centro del Inmigrante, the Human Rights Commission and the Midland Beach Alliance.

The recipients of these awards, which were presented by the Mayor's Office on Immigrant Affairs, represent the best qualities of U.S. citizenship. People who want to learn more about how to become a U.S. citizen are encouraged to visit our Staten Island immigration site.

Source:, "Staten Island immigrants honored for post-Sandy efforts," Stephanie Slepian, March 1, 2013

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