I grew up at the Jersey Shore but in 2012 I was living in a suburb of Philadelphia. I woke up on this morning in 2012 thankful that I still had electricity and no damage. As I headed out and to the marina to check on my boat I realized my neighborhood was a small pocket that did not experience damage. After checking on my boat I went home and started watching the news. I was heartbroken to find that my home – the place where I grew up – the Jersey Shore that I love was destroyed.
While I haven’t kept many friendships with people I grew up with I felt that I had to do something to help “my people”. For 3-days Kim and I went to Walmart and filled carts with food, pet food, toys, clothes and water. We would drive down the shore and find shelters to donate to. The first shelter we found it restored my faith in humanity to find a long line of vehicles lined up to make donations. That shelter was at a school in Little Egg Harbor Township (just outside Mystic and Tuckerton). While that is not where I grew up I knew that was a community of working year round residents not people who kept summer homes down the shore. Those people could not have been more thankful for the help.
There was one funny story that came out of that day. Kim’s Aunt and Uncle lived on the north side of Brigantine. She evacuated before the storm but he did not. As he had no power to charge his phone no one could reach him to check on him. The family was worried but Brigantine was flooded and there was no getting on the island. I decided I was going to borrow a friend’s flat bottom metal boat, drive as close as I could to Brigantine, launch the boat and go check on him. As I’m heading out to grab the boat the news comes on and there is Kim’s Uncle, at a shelter, with President Obama and Governor Christie. Here everyone is worried about the guy and he’s hanging out with the President and the Governor!
God continue to bless NJ and the people who lost everything (including their loved ones) in the storm.