Burt and Jeanne Metz (pictured above) lost their home in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens when Hurricane Sandy struck that New York City borough. But now, thanks to a group of humanitarian volunteers, the couple has a rebuilt one.
More than 300 volunteers with the Virginia-based Operation Blessing International completely gut-renovated and rebuilt the Metzes' home, which had been flooded with 4 feet of water -- and the couple had no idea they were doing it. Burt and Jeanne were staying in Brooklyn during the humanitarian effort. The Metzes' home is one of more than 400 in Queens that the volunteers have worked on in rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, New York's Daily News reported.
"Unbelievable. My heart is pounding -- look at this," Jeanne Metz said in a CBS New York video of her home's unveiling this week.
"We worked on this house for about three weeks -- from studs to where it is today -- so we hope you really like it," a volunteer told the couple as they got a first glimpse at their remodeled house.
The Hurricane Sandy rebuilding project cost tens of thousands of dollars to complete, according to ABC News, and is the only one of the 400 homes the group has worked on that had to be entirely reconstructed.
"We've never built a house like this," U.S. Disaster Relief Director Jody Gettys told ABC News. "The Metzes are so appreciative and truly an inspiring couple."
Burt and Jeanne, who have owned their Breezy Point home for 30 years, began to cry as they took in the sight.
"It's a complete new beginning," Jeanne Metz told the Daily News. "I'm just really glad that things can go back to normal again. ... We were desperate, and now we have a whole new life."
"When you're old, it's tough," Burt Metz added. "We are just really happy. This is absolutely gorgeous."
The Metzes fared better than the owners of the historic Princess Cottage in Union Beach, N.J. That home became a symbol of Hurricane Sandy after the storm cut it in half. Efforts were being made to restore it, but eventually, the Princess Cottage was torn down.