Teen returns from helping with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Teen returns from helping with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

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It was named Hurricane Sandy, but many people simply called it the super storm.

The storm was a devastating blow to the eastern coast of the United States that caused over $63 billion dollars worth of damage and killed 131 Americans.

"I was walking and there was just like this full sized ship just tossed up on the shore," said Ryan Steinhauer. "Like it was a big ship just like tossed up on the shore like it was a toy. Then there were streets and houses that were just completely gone."

Steinhauer, 18, is a high school student from South Bend who just returned from volunteering with the Red Cross relief efforts in New York.

"We just provided a [shelter] for the FEMA people and Red Cross people," said Steinhauer.

Steinhauer has been a local volunteer with the South Bend Red Cross for the last five years, but it was not until recently that he was allowed to assist with disaster relief outside of the area.

"As soon as the hurricane hit he requested the opportunity to go and the Red Cross unfortunately had to turn him down because he wasn't 18 and we couldn't attend with him at the time," said Dave Steinhauer, Ryan's father. "So, the day he turned 18 and he found out he had the opportunity to go [his mother and I] expected that he would go as quickly as possible."

That opportunity came just eight days after Ryan turned 18 and for two weeks he left home to help in New York.

"I'm extremely proud that he's taking the time out of his life, out of his high school career, to go help other people," said Dave Steinhauer. "Knowing full well that he was still going to have a full workload [from school] that he's still going to have to catch up on."

Even with his homework piled up, Ryan says he would not trade his experience for anything. In fact he says that he would not mind going back.

"Making someone else smile makes me happy," said Ryan Steinhauer, "So, it's like everybody wins cause I can make someone else smile and that makes me smile. Then everybody is happy and nobody is miserable."

According to Ryan's family, his school is letting him catch up on all the work he missed over the upcoming holiday break.

Ryan says after graduating South Bend Washington High School he would like to join the service or go to medical school.

People who are interested in helping their local Red Cross, can call their nearest branch and the organization will set them up with the courses needed for full training.

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