Eskimos keep tabs on family members caught up in superstorm Sandy
Linebacker Hill, RB Boyd, defensive tackle Sewell thankful relatives on East Coast are OK
EDMONTON - About the only thing that has calmed Edmonton Eskimos linebacker T.J. Hill while he watched hurricane Sandy wreak havoc on his home state of New Jersey on Monday, is that he’s been able to maintain contact with his family.
Ditto for running back Cory Boyd and defensive tackle Almondo Sewell.
“The house is still there,” said Hill, looking to cling to more bearable news about the superstorm on Tuesday.
The Eskimos had just wrapped up their practice on the snow-dusted field at Commonwealth Stadium in preparation for Friday’s CFL home game against the Calgary Stampeders. They will be outdoors again Wednesday and Thursday to ensure that they have their footing and timing. But, really, the cool conditions seemed inconsequential, compared to what is happening out east.
“I’ve talked to my brother, my mom,” said Hill, who hails from Paterson, N.J. “I’ve talked to everybody and their homes are still there, but there’s a lot of flooding. And the power has been in and out. It was out last night, but the phone lines were still up. That was a relief because I could pick up the phone and call them or they could call me.
“They’ve said the wind is fierce. I do have some friends who live by the shore, and they had to evacuate. I’m 10 minutes from New York City, so there’s a lot of flooding ... I’ve just been trying to stay in contact with the family as much as possible.
“All I’m trying to do is make sure they’re still breathing.”
Like Hill, Boyd was up in Canada last season when hurricane Irene struck. But this superstorm, which has now weakened to a post-tropical storm, has already been deemed the costliest natural disaster in United States history.
“I spoke to my grandmother yesterday and she told me the family was OK and together,” said Boyd, whose family is in Orange, N.J. “She wanted to get in touch with me, to tell me not to worry because they might be out of power for a little bit.
“I watch the news here and there, but I do try not to. I don’t want to worry too much.”
Sewell grew up in Jamaica, so he has become somewhat hardened to hurricanes. Long before Sandy hit the East Coast, it swept through the Caribbean — and he still has ties there.
At least Sewell’s family that’s in Trenton, N.J., is on higher ground.
“We lived right by the beach, so you got used to the power outages and three days of rain and all that crazy stuff that goes on,” Sewell said. “But I was pretty worried when the storm hit Jamaica.
“Any time you go through a tragic situation like this, whether it’s in the east or the Gulf Coast when it was hurricane Katrina,” said Hill, “as a nation we just have to join together and try and get through it the best way we can.”
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