Community getting back on its feet 6 months after Sandy

Published: Apr 29 2013 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 29 2013 11:15:07 PM EDT
EXETER TWP., Pa. -

It's an anniversary many in Berks County would like to forget.

Especially for those who live along Church Lane in Exeter Township.

"Me and my wife, we're lucky, thankful we're still alive," Mark Reich said.

Reich is one of several homeowners still traumatized by the wrath of Super Storm Sandy.

The storm winds were so strong they uprooted several trees in Reich's backyard, sending one crashing into his bedroom.

Had Reich and his wife been in the bedroom at the time, they both could have been killed.

"I'll never forget it," Reich said. "Every time the wind blows, it's like we're shell shocked. It's ridiculous."

For many, the cleanup has been tedious, at best.

Joseph Santos lost several 80-foot trees, and since his insurance does not cover debris cleanup, Santos and his family have been busy chopping wood.

There is so much wood that some of it even sits on his neighbor's property.

"We just can't get a break," Santos said. "It just goes on and on and on."

One of the more amazing stories is that of a small statute of St. Francis of Assisi that sits on Jim Burleigh's property.

While Burleigh's home was under attack by Sandy, damaging his roof and shed, his small statue of St. Francis of Assisi, which was in the middle of it all, survived without a scratch.

"Francis probably had a little bit of an edge," Burleigh said. "He protected our property, and protected our lives as well."

Officials say Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage and claimed more than 70 lives.