Headline Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
When you think of homeownership, we all naturally think of individual homes and the families who live in them. But homeownership is also about community. And in times of stress, including natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, we really get a glimpse of what a community is all about. The storm was devastating in the Northeast and most in the region dealt with loss in some form. It might have been a minor nuisance like no cable and wifi all the way to a week-plus with no power and heat. In those communities you saw neighbors helping each other, those “with” opening their homes to those “without.” Common random acts of kindness include generator sharing, makeshift charging stations in drive ways and neighbors waiting in hour long lines just to fill up a five gallon gas can for one another.
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger
And in those areas where the devastation was greater and life altering, communities responded with incredible efforts. Neighbors helping neighbors remove sea-water soaked furniture, rugs, appliances and so much more while insurance and FEMA claims were being made. We should all be fans of the undefeated Point Pleasant Beach high school football team, with no games to play, met as a team to go home to home to help remove as much as they could. Known as the “The Beach,” these youngsters are heroes.
And there was Matthew Andras, another Jersey shore resident, who offered his damaged neighborhood a stress-reducing Movie Night with his generator powering a TV, DVD player and sound system.Read More.
Express-Times Photo | SUE BEYER
Utility workers, police officers, firefighters, the National Guard and EMTs have worked around the clock saving lives and offering comfort for people in their community. Easton, PA’s Jack Vaughn was a recipient. Needing a heart transplant, a match was found in Philadelphia just as the storm hit. Two EMTs, who has already worked a 12-hour shift, got him to Philly despite the pounding winds, driving rain and flying debris. Read more.
There are countless local businesses helping. Free restaurant meals, veterinarians offering free physical exams and other examples are routine, the examples are in the hundreds
And many in the Coldwell Banker family have stepped as well. Efforts have included food and clothing donations, hours of volunteering and much more.
And then there was Bob Rich, owner of Coldwell Banker James C. Otton Real Estate which operates on the southern Jersey Shore, who saw much of his business ruined. Two of his five offices, which had recently undergone beautiful renovations, were devasted by to the storm. But that did not stop Bob. He learned from northern neighbor Jim Flanagan of Coldwell Banker Flanagan Realty that the Toms River shelter, which was housing displaced residents from the hard-hit Long Beach Island and Seaside Heights, needed immediate supplies. Bob and his wife Josee rushed to his nearby Walmart and purchased thousands of dollars worth of required water, pet food and diapers which he delivered to Jim and the shelter.
The words “home” and “community” have no doubt changed for the millions who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The compassion that we are witnessing each and every day is something that we will never forget and will be what helps so many through this very difficult time.
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Sandy Aftermath: The Road To Recovery Starts with Community.