4 AUGUST 20, 2020 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Middle Village family raising funds for home bills and
medical equipment following Tropical Storm Isaias
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Aft er several days without power
following Tropical Storm
Isaias, a Middle Village family
is fundraising for help with medical
equipment and home bills.
The storm left Alicia Quirke, her husband
Thomas and two sons Justin and
Mateo without power for three days
aft er it hit Queens on the fi rst week
of August. The borough saw the most
downed trees and power outages in the
city, with thousands left without power
almost a week aft er it passed.
The Quirke family, who have lived
in Middle Village for almost 12 years,
was among those thousands. Alicia
said their neighborhood was already
prone to blackouts, as the electricity
wires are above ground.
But Quirke’s 13-year-old son, Justin,
has giant axonal neuropathy, a
rare neurodegenerative disorder.
Justin depends on medical equipment
that require electricity and must be
“The alternative is to go to the
hospital, but right now we don’t feel
comfortable doing that,” Alicia said.
“If my son catches COVID … It would be
Alicia said Con Edison has a program
for families with members that have
medical conditions and need electricity
for their health. A Con Edison
representative called them to let them
know of the hazardous conditions and
the possible outages, and gave them
an estimated time of when the power
would be back.
Alicia said she asked if they provide
generators, but they were told they do
She couldn’t help but remember
how hot the night of the storm was, but
didn’t have any power to plug in a fan
or an air conditioner.
“I’ll never forget it. We didn’t sleep;
nobody did,” she said.
But the following day, with the power
still out, one of her neighbors with a
generator off ered to charge Justin’s
“I did just that, but she needed it
herself for her nebulizer, so she was
putting herself at risk. She was very
nice,” Alicia said.
She said other neighbors off ered
help with extensions for the generator
and gas. But she soon began to worry
about food spoiling.
Alicia said they were already penny
pinching and couldn’t aff ord to waste
any food, being that her husband is on
furlough from his restaurant job. He
receives unemployment benefi ts, but
the additional $600 from the federal
government expired at the end of July.
Mateo, Thomas, Alicia and Justin Quirke live in Middle Village, Queens. Photos courtesy of Alicia Quirke
Another neighbor then took the
initiative to create a GoFundMe page
in order to fundraise for a generator,
should another storm or blackout
come. Then, a relative of her landlord
contacted local Councilman Robert
Holden to help the family get some immediate
On Aug. 11, the Quirke family was
called on by a neighbor to go outside.
They were met by Holden and representatives
from Home Depot who
gift ed them with a generator.
“We didn’t know any of this was going
on, we were all in tears and in shock
and disbelief,” Alicia said, tearing up
as she recalled the moment. “Our community
came together to help us with
my son, to help us take care of him.”
“This selflessness and generosity
is what our community is all about!”
Holden wrote in a Facebook post.
Other neighbors, community
activist Connie Altamirano and her
children Jacob Altamirano and Jamie
Longo, recently donated groceries to
the family aft er contacting them to see
how they could assist.
“I’m humbled and thankful to have
been able to help the Quirke family
with groceries,” Connie Altamirano
said. “My children and I are committed
to continuing our support of this
wonderful family. I’m a fi rm believer
that moms need to stick together and
help each other, especially in this diffi
cult time that we are living in.”
Jacob, a rising sixth-grader who
raises funds and works with local food
pantries to help those in need, donated
his own money for the groceries.
“We have been helped many times
before and this was an opportunity
to give back to another family,”
Now, the funds generated by the Go-
FundMe will go toward medical bills
and other necessities for the Quirke
family as they get back on their feet.
“There’s so much thoughtfulness
and happiness and gratitude,” Quirke
said about her community. “I just can’t
thank them enough.”