Meet the Team


Farid Kader

Farid was born in Brooklyn and moved to Bay Terrace, Staten Island when he was 3.  Bay Terrace was not badly affected by the storm and Farid didn’t believe the damage until he saw his grandmother’s house in Midland Beach wiped away.  After seeing her house, he realized how many others could use help like her. Coming from a culture of volunteering and enjoying home rebuilding projects, Farid was driven to do something more. He asked a couple of friends from Staten Island to help and Yellow Team was born. A natural born leader, when not volunteering he is a project manager for a global insurance firm.

Mike "Loco" Hoffman

Immediately following Hurricane Sandy, Mike Hoffman physically rescued trapped victims of the storm. To date , Mike’s team of volunteers known as Boots on The Ground, now part of Yellow Boots has serviced over 1200 homes. Mike led the establishment of multiple warming tents, Hub maintenance and assistance, and shower transportation to and from the YMCA. Through Mike’s coordination, he delivered medical machines for sleep apnea and asthma, supplied heaters and furniture to more than 500 families, arranged generator and fuel drop offs.

For the duration of the storm, Boots on the Ground cooked and served more than 5000 bbq meals, and more than 50,000 meals in total. In collaboration with Mountain Bible Church and Staten Island Strong Fund raised and distributed $32,000. Ron Darling Foundation collaborated with Boots/Yellow and distributed $3000 each to 5 families in furniture vouchers for Bobs Discount furniture. Boots on the Ground gave away $3650 in gift cards for multiple store.

Mike Hoffman is truly someone to reach out and call a brother. Without Mike’s strong leadership and coordination Staten Island would not be where it is today. 

Jason Vogel

Jason was born and raised in the South Beach section of Staten Island. He got stuck in the city during the storm so he had didn’t know how bad the damage was at home. On Wednesday after the storm, he saw a post from a childhood friend reaching out for help.  He surprised her the next morning and spent the next days clearing her home of debris.  Then Farid’s sister-in-law, Jason’s cousin, mentioned that Farid was leading a team of volunteers. He didn't realize he was going to be here so long but as long as there is still work to be done, he’s determined to be out there lending a hand. 

One of the most selfless people we have ever encountered, this man has been out conquering people’s disparity and hopelessness. Turning grins to smiles, “Nos” to Yes”, and despair to hope, Jason has been one of the X-Factor’s on Yellow Boots. In the field you deal with disgruntled homeowners who have gotten a raw deal from life, government, and other giving delayed or raw responses. You comfort those that need comfort on an emotional level. Jason has been there to emotionally lift homeowners and volunteers, and rebuild their future in the processes one home at a time.

Ross Decker

Ross is a lifelong Staten Islander originally from Tottenville, on the island’s south shore. The north shore, where Ross currently resides, suffered no damage from Hurricane Sandy, but after seeing the devastation on television and then firsthand, Ross knew he had to go back to Tottenville, this time as a relief volunteer.

After being challenged by friends and family, Ross created Eden Cares, a simple vehicle for raising money. The goal was to get the donated money and supplies into the affected communities and the hands of survivors within 48 hours of receiving. Ross and his wife Cat, quickly reached out to their vast network of marketing professionals and the simple call to action went viral. In a short amount of time they raised more than twenty-five thousand dollars in cash and supplies from all over globe. After working relief in Tottenville, Great Kills, and New Dorp Beach, Ross made his way into Midland Beach where he ran a relief site in one of the hardest hit areas. It was there on the corner of Hunter Avenue and Olympia Boulevard, Ross found kindred spirits in the great work Yellow Team and Boots On The Ground were already doing. Ross considers it a privilege to wear the yellow shirt of Yellow Boots. When he is not volunteering, Ross is a professional networker

Melissa Malec

Melissa is a former elementary school teacher and stay at home mom. She is a native Staten Islander and currently lives in Northern NJ. Melissa got involved immediately after Sandy hit, first delivering clothing, baby and personal items to temporary hubs set up in the affected areas of SI. She hooked up with local volunteers working through Sandy Help pages and soon began helping families with necessary essentials through Staten Island Sandy Outreach, National Disaster Adoptions and Hurricane Sandy HELP. Transporting locally-donated items became the norm and once or twice per week trips were made from Northern NJ with donations of furniture, kitchenware, clothing, shoes and coats, toys, children’s books, baby equipment, personal and other household items -- sometimes with the help of a friend with a second carload. All items were delivered where they were needed.

Melissa became an Administrator for two groups, Staten Island Sandy Outreach and Donated Furniture and Home Accessories. Aside from assisting families with their needs as they recovered, she organized projects such as an “Adopt-a-School” Program through her children’s school for IS 2 and PS 37 (a special needs school in Great Kills). She also organized a handmade Holiday Ornament Drive for Christmas 2012, which resulted in 110 gift packages of handmade ornaments, which were delivered personally to Sandy families in affected areas. Other efforts included hosting a Pay-it-Forward Tupperware Event where $900 in Tupperware was earned for distribution to Sandy families in need. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Uniontown, PA entrusted her with $2,000 earmarked for Staten Island Sandy Relief. She purchased and was able to provide new bed linens and blankets to over 30 families.

Melissa joined Yellow Boots and has been the Corporate Liaison, assisting with Corporate Donations for rebuild supplies like paint and related equipment. She established a relationship with the Timberland Company, which resulted in donations of “Yellow Boots” for the team, and facilitated a 9/11 Sandy-related Community Service Project in New Dorp Beach for Timberland’s Community Service Volunteer Group. Melissa hopes to continue her Sandy Relief work in a way that assists families in each stage of their recovery.

Ben Truncali 

Ben Truncali was born and raised in Brooklyn and moved to Staten Island in 2004. He is Director of I.T. for a manufacturing company. He has been active with the Rotary Club of Verrazano since 2002 and has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.

While not directly affected by Sandy, Ben wanted to help with the relief effort as gratitude for being spared. Although not hands on as other members of YellowBoots, he has kept busy securing donations for families in need. Delivering food, clothing and essentials in the immediate days after Sandy made landfall, he hit the ground running, working with a number of relief groups like Guyon Rescue and Staten Island Sandy Outreach.

Because of his background in community service, Ben has been an integral part of YellowBoots, acting as Fundraising Chair. Due to his involvement, the Rotary clubs of Staten Island and Verrazano have donated more than $15,000 to YellowBoots. With the assistance of Assistant Fundraising Chair Stacey Sclafani, he organized a successful fundraiser, securing desperately needed funds to help YellowBoots continue their mission.

Stephanie Argento-Beharovic 

Stephanie was born and raised in Brooklyn. She moved to Staten Island in 2003 with her family. Hurricane Sandy severely destroyed her home in Ocean Breeze. The family lost everything. Stephanie started volunteering at the Midland Relief Center in an effort to help other Hurricane Sandy survivors. I was there she met Farid, Ross, and Mike and saw an opportunity to work with Yellow Boots. Stephanie is the Resident Liaison for the Yellow Boots Team. She recently joined West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation as a Program Assistant to help assist local business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Stacey Sclafani

Stacey is awesomeStacey was born and raised in Brooklyn and moved her family to Staten Island in 2008. She is a stay at home mother of 2. Even though her home suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy, she immediately began helping those who fared worse than her own family.

After Sandy struck, Stacey connected with local volunteers working through Sandy Help Groups like Staten Island Relief and began assisting families with their needs, including personal and household items. Stacey served as an Administrator for National Disaster Adoptions. She helped plan and co-hosted a Christmas 2012 event for Sandy-affected families, which provided children with toys and an opportunity for a visit with Santa. Stacey organized the “Walk a Mile in Your Shoes” event, which served to bring awareness to the content and consequences of the Sandy bill. She was also a founding board member of Beacon of Hope New York. While working with Beacon of Hope, Stacey collected and compiled an abandoned house list and worked with local politicians to bring attention to this important issue. She also organized and ran a successful fundraiser to further their work in Staten Island.

Stacey has attended numerous Press Conferences in order to bring important issues to the forefront that Sandy- affected families were facing during the recovery process. She researched and worked extensively on the insurance issues the Sandy-affected faced, and was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on this topic. Stacey served as liaison between Congressman Grimm’s office and the Sandy-affected in areas such as abandoned houses, insurance and other Sandy-related issues. As Co-Chair of Fundraising, she assisted Ben Truncali with planning and organizing a successful fundraiser, securing funds to help Yellow Boots continue their disaster recovery mission.

Assisting in the recovery of others has proved to be therapeutic to Stacey and she plans to continue to lend hope where it may be needed.

 


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commented 2013-12-19 18:18:01 -0500 · Flag
Just saw you on channel 7, bless you for helping the people out to finish their houses. Nice story and great organization! Do you take contributions?