Hickey, who has a 1-year-old daughter and three sons under the age of 8, said the storm displaced his entire family. For a while, Hickey said, they were all living with one of his six siblings on Long Island, along with several other storm-impacted relatives.
"There were 30 of us," Hickey said. "It was a little crowded, but we are a close family and we got along."
Now, Hickey said, he, his wife and their children are living with her parents in Bay Ridge.
"The kids are going to have a good Christmas," Hickey said. "It is emotional, to say the least, to think about how everyone is helping us out."
Donald Vetter, chief clerk of the Nassau County court, is living in the basement of his sister-in-law's home in Dix Hills, Suffolk County, with his wife and two teenage children. After sending his family to safer ground, Vetter remained in their South Massapequa home, fighting quixotically against the storm.
"Me being me, I stayed in my house and my family left," Vetter said. "By four in the afternoon, the water was at my front door, which is four feet off the ground, and by seven at night, waves were hitting my house and my jeep was under water. I've lost everything on the first floor. It has been stripped to nothing."
Vetter said the emergency leave bank has been a God-send.
"People have been so thoughtful," Vetter said. "It is very trying. I have to come to work. I am the chief clerk and I have to set an example and all the while am dealing with flood insurance, homeowners insurance, the contractor. The courts have been great in providing time so we can meet with contractors and do what we need to do. That has taken a lot of pressure off the employees. They have just been very helpful."
Vetter said he and his family would obviously prefer to be home for Christmas, but in the context of the Connecticut tragedy where 20 children and six adults were shot to death in their school, he views his predicament as minor.
"When you see what happened in [Connecticut], it puts things in perspective," Vetter said. "Everything I lost is a replaceable item. Life isn't. I just thank God we are alive and we have each other."