For the first 18 years of her life, Elvira Razzano lived on the shores of New York in a town called Lindenhurst, next to the beach, the canal and her family.

Elvira Razzano

“I’ve lived there my entire life; that is, my entire life until college,” said Razzano, who is now a sophomore at Mason.

Last week, super storm Sandy swept up the east coast, nearly washing away Razzano’s hometown away with it. Lindenhurst is on the south shore of Long Island, right on the water. Towns on the East Coast were buffered from the swells of wind, water and sand by Fire Island, but Lindenhurst had no firstline of defense.

Residents were told to evacuate, but Razzano’s parents decided to stay.

“They never listen,” Razzano said. “They didn’t evacuate during Irene and they thought this time would be just a little worse. But it was a lot worse.”

Of the 15 houses on her street, her home is one of only two that were not devastated by the storm because of its position on an incline.

There was flooding on the first floor, but since the family just uses the space for an apartment for renters and a laundry room, the house is still livable.

Her parents did lose power, and Razzano has had limited communication with them since the storm.

“On Tuesday morning I got a text from my cousin saying they weren’t able to get in touch with my dad,” Razzano said. “He called me later saying the cell signal had been out. I was a little nervous, but I figured it was just the signal.”

Though her family got away without major casualties, some neighbors and friends lost everything.

“One of my best friends lost his home,” Razzano said. “They had evacuated, but their home is so damaged that they’ll have to rebuild everything.”

Razanno’s mother has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, but Razzano says that the power outage has not had an affect on her mother’s health.

In the wake of the storm, Razzano has been impressed by the reaction and support from the community.

“I got an email from Mason because they knew my primary address was in NY,” Razzano said. “They gave me a list of resources I could access. It was great to see how the Mason community reacted. On Facebook there have been a lot of people participating in food and clothing drives, which I thought was nice to see.”

Though she has seen pictures and stories on her town, the full extent of Sandy has not sunk in yet.

“It hasn’t really hit me how bad it is,” Razzano said. “I feel sort of out of touch.”

Razzano will head home for Thanksgiving, but things will not be the same as usual. The family’s tradition is to hold the annual meal at her grandma’s house, which is on the water and was also affected by the storm.

“I didn’t realize how huge of an impact the storm would have,” Razzano said. “My family is really grateful that we didn’t lose our home or anyone we love.”