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November 1, 2012
Red Bulls assistant Petke counts blessings

By Kristian Dyer Contributing Editor

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – It is count your blessings time for Mike Petke, who lives in Red Bank, N.J. and saw the worst of Hurricane Sandy sweep through his home near the shore. Petke and his family are safe but like much of the tri-state area were shaken by the events.

Petke lives in Monmouth County now, the former Long Island born and bred Red Bulls assistant coach having moved there a couple years ago. The storm came through and forced the family to move out but no major damage was done to his house and they’re all safe and sound.

“It is terrible; I’ve never seen anything like it. We were without power for a few days and now being able to see the news – it is heartbreaking what is going on in Sandy Hook, Seaside, Avon – all staples of the shore,” Petke told “My mother-in-law lives in Ocean City and the bay met the ocean there. It’s terrible. I don’t think anybody expected this.”

The Petkes lost power early and went over to a friend’s house with a generator to weather the storm but it was restored on Wednesday night. Four blocks over from him, he says, there isn’t power. They opened their home last night to friends for “a shower, a hot meal, a drink, anything.”

His parents, still in Long Island, also made it out alright.

“They’re in Long Island, they’re OK. Trees are down and all that but knock on wood, they’re all safe,” Petke said. “Everything else is replaceable, they’re health and safety is not.”

Now ahead lays Saturday’s quarterfinal leg at D.C. United, a match that was supposed to be held at Red Bull Arena and was now switched down to R.F.K. Stadium due to the storm. When he was with the MetroStars, Petke was a prominent face in the New York area following the September 11th attacks. He volunteered, raised money and he famously walked onto the field for one game with an “N.Y.P.D.” hat and carrying an American flag.

For Petke, it is tough to compare the significance of Saturday’s game in D.C. with the days and weeks after the 9/11 attacks. The healing power of sport might be tough this time around.

“It’s tough for me, after 9/11 you wanted to get back to some normalcy. This is different, you have people who have lost houses, lives,” Petke said. “You can’t compare which is worse, 9/11 or this. Both you see people suffer.”

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