One Year Post-Sandy: Still Jersey Strong
By Thomas A. Arnone
One year after Sandy wreaked havoc on New Jersey’s coastline and shore communities, municipalities and organizations statewide marked the occasion of the storms arrival with events that span from candlelight vigils to conferences. This is an all out effort to lift spirits as we reflect upon what was a very dark day and one that Monmouth County residents will remember for many years to come.
To mark the one-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, residents from shore communities such as Sea Bright, Union Beach, Keansburg, Belmar and Spring Lake to name just a few gathered together on Tuesday, Oct. 29, for either dinners or flashlight vigils.
Sandy came in with a vengeance and left a lasting memory for all those residents affected by the storm. However, we are still here, still fighting and we are still Jersey Strong. Monmouth County residents continue to have an optimistic attitude as we continue to recover and rebuild the area.
An upheaval such as Sandy can often leave people feeling powerless, hopeless and vulnerable. However Monmouth County residents have proven to be resilient and continue to develop a broad range of coping skills as we restore each and every community to its original state. Whether it is choosing to get involved in community events or volunteering to help restore, rebuild and recover, Monmouth County employees and residents alike have bonded together as a force to be reckoned with in their own rite. Joining together has allowed for major strides in reconstruction and a continuum of the optimism that can be seen and felt throughout the county one year after the storm.
Gov. Christie showed his support once again for Monmouth County and its residents by visiting a number of municipalities to meet with first responders, volunteers and residents to recognize them for their strength and resiliency one year post Super Storm Sandy.
There certainly are a lot of sensitivities surrounding the anniversary of Sandy, and that is something we are not going to be able to get around. People are not only going to be remembering and discussing the storm, but reflecting on where they were at the time of the storm, where they are now and where some still yet need to be.
Having said that, The Board of Chosen Freeholders and our dedicated county employees will continue to work alongside each and every municipality to ensure Monmouth County residents and businesses are thriving and even stronger than before.
Thomas A. Arnone is Freeholder Director Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Thank You From Sea Bright!
By The Board of Sea Bright Rising
As we mark the one-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, we’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to Sea Bright Rising. We’ve been able to raise $1.3 million and distribute over $1million so far. These funds have assisted over 300 families, 17 businesses and helped improve the infrastructure of the town, replacing structures such as bus stop, benches, and planters. Sea Bright Rising also spearheaded the food relief effort, Sea Bright solution center and the “coming home program,” to name a few.
Our mission remains the same and is still very much ongoing today! As much as we’d like to think that “We’re Stronger than the Storm,” the harsh reality is that not everyone is. This was an advertising campaign and a good one at that. We still have plenty of people and businesses who suffered a knockout punch and want to come back. Some will be back and some just can’t. That’s the reality. So this is why we’re still committed to helping wherever we can, and for as long as we can. To get everyone back that’s still trying to do so. This recovery is far from over. It’s a great time to reflect upon where we were when Sandy hit our beach, how far we’ve come since and how much further we need to go!
If we can celebrate anything at all from this tragedy it’s that people came together and helped those in need.
Once again thank you for your support. Many people greatly appreciate your generosity. You’ve made a difference!
Sea Bright Rising is a nonprofit organization devoted to the relief of the needy and/or displaced and the general recovery of Sea Bright as a result of the devastation created by Super Storm Sandy.
Super Storm Sandy One Year Later
By The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association
In our efforts to mark time and milestones, we take our anniversaries seriously – and never more so than when they mark a major event in many lives. This week, many noted that a year has passed since Super Storm Sandy swaggered ashore in southern New Jersey, forever changing the face of the New York-New Jersey coastline and the lives of the many people who live, work and play there. One-year anniversaries are always significant, but even more so after a major disaster. The wounds are still fresh, the memories still clear. After all the suffering and disruption, a year later we hope to finally have everything back in order, back to “normal.” But “normal” is a relative term, the difference between outward appearances and inner equilibrium. For those who lived in an area hard hit by a storm, “normal” connotes so many things – intangibles that cannot be rebuilt, repainted and restored. A place may be “recovered” or “restored,” but for those who remember what it once was things don’t look “normal” yet – and they never may. In our electronic world, we are used to rebooting and having things return to the way they were. Unfortunately, rebooting the areas devastated by Super Storm Sandy’s wrath is not that easy. A year later, however, much has been accomplished:
Mountains of wreckage from destroyed communities has been hauled away. Not only is the hauling difficult, but finding a place to put essentially decades worth of construction and debris is a huge challenge.
Roads have been repaired and rebuilt, a challenging task that is crucial for other recovery efforts to take place.
Poles and power lines (and the other utilities that rely on them) have been replaced.Until you see the endless line of trucks from electric companies heading into your area, you cannot begin to understand the complexity of rebuilding a community’s electrical grid on the fly.
The battered coast is getting back to business, a crucial recovery for communities both coastal and inland, since coastal areas are proven economic engines whose impact stretches far from the beach or port.
Restoration of the hardest hit beaches is a continuing process that requires environmental permitting, engineering plans, construction plans followed by implementation. Individually, each is a considerable undertaking; together, the effort is monumental and all are governed by a very tight deadline: to restore protective beaches and dune systems before the next storm season.
Still, a year later, communities are wrestling with what may be the hardest issue of all: “How to best rebuild?” Each of us has an emotional attachment to home, combined with a personal and financial need to get things back to the “way they were”. However, replacing what was once there isn’t an option in many locations for an assortment of reasons: building rules have changed in an effort to make buildings safer and more storm-resistant; the fear of recurring disaster; and because loss drives many communities to rebuild better rather than faster.
Federal funding has been appropriated by Congress, but distribution is complicated and construction takes time. There’s also a desire to learn from Sandy’s devastation – to learn how to make communities more resilient, to make crucial infrastructure more secure and to make adjustments along the coast responding to the changes that science and experience tell us are coming.
One year after Sandy, what is clear is that wide beaches and high dunes will keep storm waves and rising tides away from upland infrastructure and property. What is clear is that the way we look at the coast has to change – away from looking at coastal issues and answers in isolation and toward a broader, more holistic understanding of actions (or inactions) taken on one piece of shoreline can influence what happens across a much larger region.
However, two things are most clear: Wider beaches coupled with taller dunes provide proven storm damage protection; and, even in the face of deadly disaster, people want to rebuild and return to the coast. That instinct has never waned and is evidenced by over 53 percent of the nation’s population living within 50 miles of the coast. So the conversation should not be whether to allow it, but rather how to do it right.
Two River Moment
This Army Day Parade in 1949 featured the Red Bank High School marching band on Broad Street in Red Bank. Army Day was established as a nationwide observance to draw public attention to national defense and promote Army activities.