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Irene Reunion for East Haven Volunteers, Shoreline Residents Sunday

With the one year anniversary of the storm this week, Cosey Beach residents are invited to come together for an informal get together this Sunday at the town beach.

It has been struck East Haven and .

In Irene's immediate aftermath, a group of Cosey Beach residents came together to organize a relief effort to assist those along the town's shoreline devastated by the storm.

The grassroots organization, which eventually came to be known as "People Helping People," earned each of the volunteers for their relief work.

One-Year Reunion

And now, some of those volunteers have come together once again, but this time to organize a one year reunion in order to provide an opportunity for Cosey Beach relief workers and residents to reconnect.

The reunion will be held on Sept. 2 at the .

'I Need to See These People Again'

Organization for the upcoming get together has been spearheaded by Kristina Nigro.

Nigro, who served as the self-named "right hand man" to People Helping People founder in the aftermath of Irene, said as the one-year anniversary of the storm's impact on the town approached, she felt it was a good time for volunteers and residents to join together again — but this time on a more positive note.

"It was a long period of time that we were seeing people and volunteering following the storm," Nigro told East Haven Patch, adding that many of the workers and residents developed new friendships and strong bonds during the relief effort.

Although much of the along the shoreline continues, the immediate need for relief waned some time ago. And so it has been several months since volunteers were all together in one place at the same time.

Nigro said she felt it was time to change that.

"I realized that I need to see these people again," she said. "So I started to organized a reunion."

Informal Get Together

The event, which has its own Facebook page, is an informal get together, Nigro said, with the entire shoreline community invited to attend.

"We're going to have some snacks, drinks and music. And just spend some time together again," she said, adding that there will also be a slide show of the many pictures volunteers and residents took during the storm's immediate aftermath.

"So it's just kind of flashback," Nigro said.

To help get the word out about the reunion, she said she'll be handing out flyers as well as going door-to-door throughout the Cosey Beach area to let residents know.

"I'm going to be inviting them down personally," Nigro said.

Donations

In addition to getting the word out, Nigro said she is also looking to see if any local residents and/or businesses are interested in passing along items for the reunion.

"If people want to donate, that would be great, too," she said.

'I Was Wondering If Someone Was Going to Do This'

Nigro said ultimately, she is hopeful the event will allow shoreline residents to celebrate their perseverance and strong sense of community, which came together during the difficult time following the storm late last August.

And it will also provide an opportunity for everyone to catch up with good friends and neighbors.

"Since I've started this I keep hearing: 'Oh my god, I was wondering if someone was going to do this,'" she said.

For more information about attending the reunion or donations, call Kristina Nigro at 203-506-6704 or you can email her at nigro444@yahoo.com.

(Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Aug. 6.)

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