By Tom Arnone
Super Storm Sandy arrived with a fury leaving devastation and destruction just about everywhere you turned in Monmouth County.
The effects of Sandy have been catastrophic and far-reaching. We have all been forced to reckon with the likes of this tragic event of nature. Through no fault of our own, many residents were left frozen and powerless in more ways than one. The wrath of Sandy overwrought the county with crumbled boardwalks, shattered homes, bringing shattered hopes and dreams to many; buildings were destroyed by fallen trees and downed power lines with fires emerging caused major havoc throughout our great county and then…. all was still.
As I toured the areas in Monmouth County that were hit the hardest and who were impacted most severely, I walked around in disbelief. All of it was so surreal.
However, this is Monmouth County, a county filled with people of integrity who possess a passion for protecting and preserving what we as residents have come to know, love and appreciate from living in this wonderful county. Even before the chaos of Sandy began, continuing throughout the touchdown of the storm and lasting right up until the writing of this article, our county employees have worked tirelessly and feverishly day and night in a valiant team effort to spare our county and all its residents from even further devastation.
As I write this article, it is with great pride and an enormous amount of gratitude that I say thank you to all those county employees who, in typical county fashion, have risen to the occasion when faced with the challenges brought here by Sandy. A simple thank you extended to these impressive men and women somehow just doesn’t seem sufficient.
Our Monmouth County employees deserve to be applauded and recognized for their outstanding heroic efforts seen throughout the entire chain of events occurring pre- and post-Sandy. Monmouth County employees are the true backbone of this great county. Under normal circumstances, we residents rely heavily on their abilities and when asked for their assistance, these Monmouth County employees perform their duties effectively and efficiently coupled with an eager responsive manner and always with a willing and able attitude. The handling of Sandy was certainly no exception!
Additionally, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders would also like to thank and recognize the tremendous effort put forth by each and every one of our mayors, council representatives, administrators and all of the emergency services personnel who were so instrumental in assisting our county employees in securing the safety of Monmouth County residents. All of the support and manpower you supplied certainly aided in accomplishing what needed to get done while making every second count.
Yes, Sandy was fierce, wreaked havoc and brought destruction, but along with this negative, she gave way for some very moving positive. What was left behind in the aftermath of Sandy was the true human spirit. People came together for the sole purpose of aiding one another. Friends, family members, neighbors and strangers could be seen helping each other all throughout the county. Volunteer forces came out in droves from every state in this great nation and joined together to assist our county and local officials, police departments, fire departments and electric companies, to name just a few. What an amazing display to observe; concerned random people from everywhere banding together united in one overwhelming effort and all for the sake of the common good of Monmouth County. It is an intangible that was left behind and that most will remember always.
Again, on behalf of the entire board of chosen freeholders, thank you to our premier team of employees for getting us through thus far and who no doubt will continue in their diligence as we work through the next phase of restoration and recovery.
In closing, I reiterate with confidence something that’s been said many, many times before – Monmouth County is the place you want to be! It certainly has been in the past and we, the board of chosen freeholders, along with our great county employees are committed to making sure it always will be.
Tom Arnone is freeholder deputy director of Monmouth County.