By John Burton
SEA BRIGHT — For many borough residents and property owners, Monday was the first chance for them to see how Super Storm Sandy ravaged the oceanside town, evaluate the damage and collect some important items.
Those making that trip over the bridge from Rumson to Sea Bright there was a sense of dread and anxiety. When they got to their homes and property some expressed relief while others seemed resigned over what nature had wrought and others wondered what they would do next.
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long working with borough Office of Emergency Management and other groups organized controlled trips into the borough via a small Monmouth County SCAT bus. The plans, according to Councilwoman Peggy Bills, was to allow those who lived or owned property in the northern section of the borough to make the trip on Monday; Tuesday will be for those in the southern end to venture from m9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. across the Shrewsbury River.
The bus carried about 25 to 30 people per trip, departing from an area across from Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Ward Avenue, just west of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. The bus dropped people along Ocean Avenue, giving them a brief period of about 15 minutes to get into their properties, collect some items they may have left behind when they received the evacuation order as Super Storm Sandy came ashore.
“I feel like a gypsy, staying with friends here and there,” Virginia Adair said about leaving her Willow Way home a week ago.
When she saw Sea Bright for the first time after the storm, she described it as, “like the moon with sand dunes.
“I hope I can live here after this,” she said. “It’s kind of traumatizing.”
Mary Brooks, who lives in a condo at Grand Pointe complex on Ocean Avenue didn’t know what to expect. “That’s been the hard part,” she said.
Charles Helmers lives with his daughter Cindy on Shrewsbury Way, a cross street leading up the Shrewsbury River side of the borough. Their house has no front on it, Helmers said, as they were walking with some personal belongings to catch the returning bus. “The entire front wall fell into the river,” he said, seeming as if he didn’t really believe what he saw. “The interior is pretty much shot to hell.” The house had about 5 feet of water on the first floor at one point, he said.
Helmers plans to “wait until the insurance company comes out and see what they’ll cover.” However, he wants to come back. “I hate to give up the view,” he said.
“It’s a bitter pill,” Councilman C. Read Murphy said as he drove along Ocean Avenue, surveying the situation. “But I think in the end it’ll be OK. We’ll rebuild.”