The camouflage military truck parked idly on 78th Street in Howard Beach belongs to resident Paul Marcel, a volunteer EMS worker, who used the large vehicle to rescue 120 neighbors from their homes that were rapidly filling with water during Hurricane Sandy.
The Forum Newsgroup ran a story in the July 10 issue detailing residents’ concerns with an abandoned army truck parked on 78th Street for several months without being moved. The owner reached out soon after to tell his story.
After buying the vehicle just days before the storm from a friend who had it shipped over from Afghanistan, Marcel said he started listening to his police scanner and preparing for the worst as the storm began barreling up the east coast.
When Sandy struck, the first emergency situation he responded to included an ambulance that became stuck in the water and needed to be pulled out. When he heard the call for help on the police scanner, Marcel said he rushed to the vehicle and had the medical personnel get into the truck.
The truck was hit repeatedly by large waves during his Hurricane Sandy rescue missions, causing damage to the radiator and the central tire inflation system, which keeps air in the truck’s tires. He said the truck is properly registered and hopes it will not be towed while he works on getting it up and running again.
“I have used it since Sandy, but it has been acting up like crazy,” Marcel said. “That is why it has been sitting there on the block like that. I was trying to fix it every week.”