Hurricane Sandy Hits New York

An Associate’s Story

I never thought that I would be affected in New York City by a hurricane; it was an eye-opening experience. During Hurricane Sandy we experienced about 4 ½ feet of water, my apartment in New Jersey was on the first floor, and we basically lost everything we owned. It just so happened that our landlord was away for two weeks as he had just left for China. Luckily, the hotel was accommodating and let us stay for a little bit.

My husband also worked for the company and we were both called into work just in case our employees couldn’t make it in due to the storm. While working, we didn’t really know what was happening back home, we just knew there was flooding. The whole time we were at work trying to help our associates and our guests make it through this trying time, but also in the back of my head I was thinking ‘what’s going on with my house and my life’ — it was very difficult.

It wasn’t until a couple days later, due to transportation issues, that I was able to get to my apartment. Once I arrived it was crazy to see what had happened to my neighborhood. I arrived at my apartment to find basically everything that I owned on the floor because the water had surged in and picked everything up and tossed it everywhere. My refrigerator was in our living room. I still get emotional years later, thinking about what happened and you can’t even imagine walking into your whole life and seeing it gone.

After the storm we called my sister and other friends to come help us clean and try to salvage what we could. I immediately called work to tell them what happened to me and they were so great about telling me to take the time I need. A week after Sandy we started talking to Human Resources at the property and they told us how the Starwood Associate Relief Fund (SARF) would be available to all associates affected by Super Storm Sandy.

We never thought we would ever need the company relief fund; it was so nice to know that SARF existed. I think it is very innovative for Starwood to have a fund that helps associates during times of need. The relief fund provided ease and comfort, knowing that our company cares about us.

The Starwood Associate Relief Fund is very important to me and it should be important to everyone, because you never know when you might need it.

– Leslie L.
A Former Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel Banquets Manager