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The 3-Minute Interview: Frank Sylvester helps Sandy victims

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,People,Kytja Weir

The 29-year-old Woodbridge resident typically works as a baggage-screening officer for the Transportation Security Administration but has spent the last month working in New York helping Superstorm Sandy victims 12 hours a day, six days a week, deployed with a special Federal Emergency Management Agency team.

What is your normal job at Reagan National Airport?

I'm the guy who leaves the little love notes when we go through your bag.

I understand you took something special to New York with you from your 7-year-old son.

He ended up giving me half of his Halloween candy to give to some of the kids up here that weren't able to do Halloween. ... It was so cool to see how even a little gesture like giving a kid a piece of candy just brightened them up, made them feel human, made them feel like a kid again.

What are you seeing there?

In a lot of these areas, the water was up almost 7 or 8 feet, so the entire home is washed out. ... There were houses where you'd knock on the door, they'd open up the door and we're looking at the back wall. There is no drywall. You're looking at studs the whole way. They are brown and they have the black mold growing on them. Their entire house is lifted off the foundation and boom. Another area, there was nothing there. It was a vacant lot. The floodwater came in and demolished the property and washed it away. There wasn't even a rubble pile to show there was a house there.

What's it going to be like to go back to your regular job?

I doubt I will be complaining about more working conditions. ... Keeping the airways safe and the ground transportation safe is vitally important. ... But being up here and going through and helping these people get some money and get their lives back in order, it feels more like I am making a difference.

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