Michelle Cortez is the founder of smallwater, a grassroots disaster relief organization on Beach 96th Street in Rockaway Beach, NY. She is also one of the many surfers there; an expat from Brooklyn who escaped the madness of the city and found tranquility, harmony and community in this beach town an hour from Manhattan. 
In the direct aftermath of Sandy, Michelle's love for Rockaway placed her at the heart of the relief efforts happening in every corner of the peninsula. She began to build a coalition of willing citizens from all over New York to bring supplies, shelter, and the simple necessities of life so desperately needed in the days, weeks, and months after the storm. A movement was born out of her dedication then and today, a year later, Michelle is still fighting for the people of Rockaway. She is a true hero of New York.

Photo by @keithweaver for #CNNSandy. #VSCOCAM (1 of 5)
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