November 4, 2012

"Hurricane Sandy"

(click here for Sandy's aftermath)

It has been several days since Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey shore. The real Jersey Shore. This wasn't reality TV or the punch line for late night talk show jokes. Every exit off the Garden State Parkway, which runs from the New York state border to Cape May, had towns that were deeply affected by this super storm. Our next door neighbors, the 5 boroughs of New York City and up through the coast of Connecticut, were deeply impacted.  To the south, Delaware's shores were impacted as well.

As I life long resident of the Jersey Shore I have witnessed blizzards, nor'easters, remnants of hurricanes, tropical storms and yes, even an earthquake. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to what just transpired this past week. The Jersey Shore has been destroyed, devastated. The aftermath brought the reality of destruction. Families who lost their homes. Businesses that lost their means to provide. Sandy also brought an overflow of memories of a youth spent going to the beach, surfing, learning to drive in beach club parking lots, at the age of 14, moving cars. Memories like sitting with a girlfriend on a blanket, at night, on the very beach that is now gone. Later, going to clubs along the shore, in towns like Long Branch (my home town), Asbury Park, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright. All those towns, completely changed now because of the hurricane.

Towns and communities that have been hit by hurricanes and tornadoes around the country know what I'm speaking about. I could only imagine, pre Sandy, what those areas were going through. I now understand. Thankfully, I only took property damage and have an intact house made a home by  my family who are all safe and sound. Others in my community are not so fortunate. NJ is a tough state. We have a certain attitude, a swag. We are resilient and meet challenges head on, like a raging bull. But the outpouring of compassion and emergency volunteers from around the UNITED States of America has made even the toughest New Jerseyeans shed a tear. Thank you all. Within our own state random acts of kindness have been outstanding and heartwarming.

On a personal level, Facebook has been the only source of news I could receive having no power since last Monday when the outer edge of the storm took out the first transformers. In fact, I'm writing to you today from my iPad in my car. I have so many friends from around the country that have been checking in on me and I thank all of you.

From an NAHB level, all I can say is this; the Federation is a family and the association family members have been staying in touch with The New Jersey Builders Association and offering any and all assistance.

Listen, New Jersey will rebuild and we will be better than ever. Changed? Without question. But we will rebuild nonetheless and we will continue to rebuild our lives, creating new memories but always remembering this past week and the days, weeks and unfortunately years to come.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel

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