Local Guardsmen Help Sandy Victims

By Lorne Fultonberg

November 12, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 3:58 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) -- More than 300 soldiers from Binghamton, Walton and Horseheads are helping cleanup what's left of Hurricane Sandy downstate.

Members of the 204th Engineer Battalion of the New York Army National Guard are clearing debris and opening roadways in Far Rockway--one of the areas hit hardest by the storm.

Local soldiers said the damage is worse than they expected.

"It's sad out there," said Sgt. 1st Class Norma Billings. "You see all the houses rundown and you think, 'that could be mine.'"

It's a bit of a flashback for the Binghamton guardsmen. They said the devastation stirs memories of the flood of September 2011.

"Of course in our own community in Binghamton it was devastating," said Billings. "Coming here and seeing the sand just coming through the houses and the cars, it's pretty bad."

Governor Andrew Cuomohas called more than 3,500 soldiers to active duty to help clean up. More than 700 National Guard Soldiers from seven other states have also been involved in the response.