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A Faithful Encounter

G. Fay Hudson

Gertrude Fay Hudson has lived in Asbury Park since she was eight years old. Her interview took place at the Trinity Church soup kitchen, which she and her family have been members of for over 15 years. During Hurricane Sandy, having nowhere else to go when her apartment complex was evacuated, she stayed with her ex-husband. 

Have you been affected by any previous natural disasters?


Did you prepare for Sandy at all in your apartment building?


Did you think it was going to be as bad as it was?


How did Hurricane Sandy affect you?

I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was unbelievable. I found out that we all had to get out of our 200 apartments building complex. We all had to go because everything, everything broke down, the lights the water, everything, so we had to go and my ex-husband invited me to stay with him, that’s right, I told you I was going to tell the truth. It was unbelievable, I stayed with him for four days and I slept with his wife. We’ve been friends ever since. You wouldn’t believe it. I think it was lucky that we became – me and my ex-husband – became like a family. After that we’re still close.

After staying with my ex-husband for four days, I came back to my apartment building because they were having the Red Cross there. They gave us blankets, food, coats and stuff like that. We came together like a family. We all stayed in the recreation room downstairs where they brought in food and beds.

What do you like most about living here in the community of Asbury Park?

My church – I thank God for being a member here… after Sandy they supply your needs such as blankets and food.

How do you think the government responded to Sandy?

They came up and they came and took our names, what we lost like our food and stuff, and our refrigerator. But they never brought us nothing we never got any money or anything… I’ve always been against that. They took my name and what I lost in my apartment and stuff and I never heard from them, and I …. At another place they got a $200 check but we never got a check. Period.

What do you think are the lessons for the future that should be learned from sandy?

I think big buildings should have generators. I think what we need is lights…

Interviewed by Amelia Zurcher and Allison Jones
Edited by Allison Jones

Asbury Park, New Jersey
Recorded October 15, 2015

A renewal in faith

Bob and Pamela Vazquez are residents of Union Beach, New Jersey. During Hurricane Sandy, they chose to stay in their home, with Pamela almost drowning twice from the storm surge. Their home sustained tremendous damage from the storm, and they are still struggling to recover. In their narrative, they describe how their experiences during the storm and the volunteer work they did after led them to embrace Christianity. They chose to be baptized in the Raritan Bay, the very body of water that ravaged their home during the storm. Continue Reading

The beauty of the storm

Mark and Lorraine Case are residents of Toms River, New Jersey who attended Saint Elisabeth Episcopal Chapel in Ortley Beach. The waterfront Chapel was a landmark in the town for 128 years, and it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Both Mark and Lorraine explain the tremendous loss their community faced after the storm, and share how their faith has helped them face challenges in the storm’s aftermath. Continue Reading

Somewhere between depressed and desperate

Al Spangler resides in Seaside Park, New Jersey, where he is Pastor of the Union Church of Seaside Park. During Hurricane Sandy, he remained in his church and watched as the storm brought its fury to the Shore. In the aftermath, he has helped members of his community to find strength in a time of emotional turmoil. In his narrative, he speaks of his experiences during the storm as well as thoughts about the recovery, and he notes that his pastoral responsibilities were both a burden and a blessing during this difficult time. Continue Reading

A preacher and a bar owner

Carl Williamson is a minister at the Gateway Church of Christ in Holmdel, New Jersey. Just days after the storm, Carl spearheaded the creation of Gateway Disaster Response, a ministry aimed at coordinating recovery efforts in the nearby town of Union Beach. A largely blue-collar community on the Raritan Bay, Union Beach received some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Sandy. In his narrative, Carl discusses the origins of the ministry, its work over the past two years, and how his personal faith has helped him in his work. Continue Reading