New York City Native & Monthly PHIA Volunteer at Friends of Rockaway
Interview conducted by Christian Huisman
Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A. My name is David Berkman. I am a deacon at The Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York and part of my mission as a deacon is to serve with PHIA.
Q. Where were you when Hurricane Sandy hit?
A. I was in my apartment in the Upper East Side with my wife. Really, the only minor inconvenience we had was that we couldn’t walk our dogs in Central Park. Other than that we really did not suffer, which is why giving back and serving is so important to me.
Q. What called you to be a part of the rebuild effort?
A. It’s part of my mission as a deacon. When I got out on the road, maybe 5 or 6 months after, it was just mind boggling. I could see how people living between the ocean and the bay were just devastated. It was absolutely mind boggling.
Q. What benefits have you found in volunteering?
A. I find it so fulfilling to give back to the Lord. I am blessed with so much, and being able to give of my time is so rewarding. I love being a Christian because of all of the things that it means to me, and serving is a part of that.
Q. What would you say to someone who has yet to volunteer in the Sandy rebuild process?
A. Just go out and do it. I would highly recommend that if you have any kind of pang in your heart to help someone else just do it. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be that strong. You just have to want to do whatever it takes to get it done. It’s that easy.
Q. Any other thoughts?
A. Just that this is not about me. This is about volunteering. I get to go out and volunteer with an amazing group of guys every month, and i’’s about us as a whole. It’s about going out, getting your hands dirty, and just volunteering.
PHIA Volunteers (from left to right): Sam Casperson, David Berkman, Jay Steen, and Robert Masella