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The 26-year-old Jersey Shore native rushed north from Florida after the storm to establish Bucket Brigade NJ, which helped residents clean and restore their homes while providing hot meals, even winter clothes. Vitale was so immersed in her relief efforts that when her work ended more than a year later, it left a void, which she filled with heroin.
Returning to Florida, she went to rehab, found a loving boyfriend and a good job, yet this hero of Hurricane Sandy died in her bedroom in a neighborhood on West Palm Beach’s north end, police reported.
It was a few days past her 29th birthday.
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