What you hear about New Jersey is true!

I’ve been deployed here for three weeks working on Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.  I am appalled by the traffic in North Jersey.  Coming from Arizona, I can’t get over the industrialization and the oldness. It takes forever to get anywhere and sometimes the air smells bad from either the sewage treatment plants or petroleum products tank farms.

But New Jersey isnt just Snooki and Jersey Shore

What makes Jersey….Jersey, is the people. What makes Jersey….Jersey is the food, what makes Jersey….Jersey is the attitude.  Chris Christie personifies Jersey in many ways. Not everyone in this state claims to like him, just 77%.  He says it like it is and takes care of his people.  Thats what its all about.

The stories I’ve heard

In meeting and talking to the people I keep hearing their stories of how Superstorm Sandy impacted them.  The EPA guy who helped get the sewage pump station back working by finding the right kind of diver from the Coast Guard to unlodge debris while submerged 30 feet in raw sewage.  Who put a metal shut off valve weighing 6 tons in position to bolt down 28 bolts by feel alone.

Its the story of South Amboy Volunteer First Aid station that helped evacuees stay warm, loaning their generator out to the Fire Department next door so they could open their bay doors when power was out for 7 days only to have their generator burn out.  Whose managers son had to rescue elderly citizens and carry them to safety on his back through thigh deep waters.  Who fed whoever came in a warm meal when they had no way to cook anything for themselves.

The story of the Monroe Fire District Volunteer Fireman who slept for 8 nights at the fire station and ran on over 100 calls with his crew to help his people at all hours of the night for medical calls, trees on roofs, electric wires down until he said there were no more calls because the storm was at its strongest and all the power was out and there was nothing else they could do.

To the local hire co-worker of mine who shared his story of how he lost his house to the storm and was living in an apartment with his wife while looking for work and at the same time dealing with FEMA officials to determine whether or not he would either be salvaging his home or have to tear the whole thing down.  And living with the uncertainty of ever having a normal life anytime in the near future.

Yet they all were strong, regaining their strength and humor.  They had Jersey attitude.

Weber St-Old Bridge Waterfront Park 013

This is a story of communities at their best, of working together to make things better, of helping their neighbors, of putting healing over politics.  We should all learn from their example.


About rsingram

Environmental Specialist, Disaster Reservist, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Para-Archeologist
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Human Character, Working Together and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to JERSEY STRONG!

  1. Vee says:

    GREAT story, Rob. Communities working together — yes, that’s what it’s all about. Get to know all your neighbors, who needs help, when — kids, old folks, teenagers, unemployed — have gatherings — sharing stuff among one another. It’s about PEOPLE at the grassroots level, reaching out to one another, banding together and extending out to the wider community — buying local, encouraging “reduce-reuse-recycle” and making it happen. Thanks again for your description of the “Jersey Attitude”, and it’s example to all of us. But come home soon! You are missed. VJ

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