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Cooking a Thanksgiving feast in Breezy Point

John Makely / NBC News

Thanksgiving on Breezy Point: Terri Dodge and her fiancee Steve Peterson drove from Portland, Maine to Breezy Point, NY on Wednesday to cook Thanksgiving dinner for up to 30 people.

In the weeks since Superstorm Sandy sent a wall of water through Breezy Point and more than 100 homes burned to the ground, the battered neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., has seen a flurry of activity with relief workers, volunteers and utility crews creating traffic jams on the one road into town.

Thanksgiving Day in Breezy Point started with a few residents still cleaning up and dozens of crews working on the natural gas lines, but little else happening -- except over by the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department where Terri Dodge and her fiancee Steve Peterson were in high gear cooking dinner in the parking lot.

John Makely / NBC News

Steve Peterson adjusts the heat under a deep fryer as a large turkey cooks.

Dodge and Peterson, who were recently engaged, drove from Portland, Maine, to Breezy Point on Wednesday and slept in their rented van next to the canned vegetables and coolers in the fire department's parking lot.

Thursday morning they started cooking for a guest list that kept getting longer. "First it was seven people, then we added 17 and now we're up over 30," Terri said as she carved one of eight turkeys. 

John Makely / NBC News

A deep-fried turkey is placed in a cooler to keep it warm until dinner is served.

John Makely / NBC News

Terri Dodge served up Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beens, yams, stuffing, gravy and a canned pork item grilled with maple syrup dubbed "Hurricane Ham"

Improvisation and outdoor cooking is not new for Terri and Steve. The couple run "A Lobster Affair" catering company in Portland, but cooking next to a flooded car in the middle of a town recently devastated by Sandy has offered some challenges. "We had to use bottle water to cook the potatoes - that was fun." The biggest challenge? "We need more side dishes, " she said as she mashed a pot full of steaming potatoes.

John Makely / NBC News

About 60 volunteers, police and firefighters enjoy a Thanksgiving meal prepared by Teri Dodge and her fiancé Steve Peterson at the Point Breeze Fire Department in Breezy Point, New York, Nov. 22.

John Makely / NBC News

Teri Dodge shows off the company patch she was given from Firefighter Sebastian Danese as she receives a round of applause for cooking Thanksgiving dinner at the Point Breeze Fire Department, Breezy Point, New York, Nov. 22.

Nearby, Mathew Bruno and Ryan Pascuzzi of the Westchester Fire Academy handed out turkey sandwiches to whoever was hungry.

John Makely / NBC News

Ryan Pascuzzi, left, a cadet with the New Rochelle Fire Department, hands out turkey sandwiches to Finbar Devine, center, Tim O'Malley and Tom Ball on 216th Street in Breezy Point.

"You've got to do your part" Pascuzzi said. "We're going to be devoting our lives to helping other people, we might as well start with a tragedy down here."

"This is my community," Bruno added. "I've been down here every weekend doing what I can, pumping out people's basements. It makes your day when someone gives you a hotdog, a hamburger or a sandwich while you're working trying to do your part. I've been on that side of working and doing the construction and now it's time for me to come down here and do what I can."

John Makely / NBC News

John Dalton, left, and his nephew Al Dalton salvage items from a neighbor's house before the home is razed. The second floor furniture was moved to Dalton's house at the owner's request.

Elsewhere in Breezy Point, John Dalton was salvaging bedroom furniture for a neighbor whose house will be razed. "I'm thankful that no one got killed in this area," Dalton said. 

In a neighborhood hard-hit by Sandy, even people who are storm victims themselves find ways to bring Thanksgiving to others. NBC's Kate Snow reports.