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First Responder

In The Wake of The Storm

Gerald Meaney, a New Jersey native, was living in Point Pleasant at the time of Hurricane Sandy. He is a former captain of the EMS squad. During Hurricane Sandy he was a volunteer first responder for the Point Pleasant, Bay Head and Mantoloking area. In his narrative, he shares his experience in the wake of the storm.

“The Smallest Things Matter”

Jillian Apel is a resident of Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, and one of the managers at Pluggy’s Too Deli & Subs in Union Beach. During Hurricane Sandy, Pluggy’s did not sustain any damage to their store and remained open during the days after the storm. In her narrative, Apel talks about her experiences with the customers at Pluggy’s after the storm and why Union Beach is so memorable to her and the community itself.

We wanted to get the people out

Kyle Grace is a police officer and deputy emergency management coordinator in charge of operations in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. During Hurricane Sandy, he was the incident commander in charge of all tactical decisions being made throughout the storm and its immediate aftermath. In this capacity he helped to coordinate the response of the Fire Department, Police Department, Emergency Management, Public Works, and other municipal entities. In his narrative, he talks about coordinating the evacuation of Point Pleasant Beach prior to the storm, as well as the actions taken by first responders in the storm’s aftermath.

Nobody had ever seen anything like this

Steven Henry has worked for the Toms River Police Department for over 25 years. At the time of Hurricane Sandy, he served as the Incident Commander for all operations related to the storm. In this narrative, Steven recalls his experiences as the hurricane was taking place as well as in its immediate aftermath.

We weren't going to do well

Louis Amoruso is the Director of Public Works and the Assistant Business Administrator for Toms River Township, New Jersey. As a child, he spent his summers in Ortley Beach at his family’s beach house, and in 1976 they moved down full-time. Since 1989, he has lived across the bay in Toms River. Amaruso’s job placed him at the center of the action during Hurricane Sandy. In preparation for the storm, his crews worked to build up the sand dunes in Ortley Beach and other communities on the barrier islands. During the storm, he organized the rescues of nearly 500 people stranded in homes. In the days after, he helped to orchestrate the removal of debris from Ortley and other heavily affected areas. In his narrative, Amaruso speaks to his experiences, emphasizes the importance of dunes and storm water management, and praises how people came together in a time of need.

Finally had a hot cooked meal

William Johnson lives in Ocean Port, New Jersey, and is owner of Scala’s Pizzeria in Long Branch. At the time of Hurricane Sandy, he was a Councilman in Ocean Port. Though his home and business were spared much of the destruction that others have faced, his neighbors and mother-in-law were not as fortunate. In his narrative, William speaks of his experiences during the storm as well as the process of recovery. He is pleased to see how people in the community have pulled together to get through the storm.

Something that brings us together, as a community, in a weird way

Megan Miller is a special education teacher who works in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She and her husband (at the time fiancé) own a home in the Township of Brick. During Hurricane Sandy they acted as First Responders, assisting people and aiding in evacuations throughout Point Pleasant. The following day, they discovered that the storm had caused severe damage to their home. In her narrative, Meghan speaks of their actions during the storm, and the challenges they have faced in rebuilding their home. She also mentions her visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, in which she discovered that Ellen had generously agreed to help rebuild their home.

Never had a storm like this

Kenneth Ferrante has served the city of Hoboken for twenty-two years, first as a patrol officer and now as the Chief of Police. During Hurricane Sandy, Ferrante was the Commander of the south portion of Hoboken and was in charge of forty officers. In his narrative, he discusses his experiences in responding to those in need during the storm. He also discusses the progress the city had made in the aftermath, the community’s strengthened resilience, and the department’s continuing work to protect and serve.

We are pretty tough people

Jim Gaul is a police officer at Monmouth University who also volunteers as a firefighter in his hometown of Ramtown, New Jersey. Monmouth University was used as a relief shelter for citizens of Monmouth County during and after the storm. Jim worked check-in at the shelter and provided security to keep the growing number of people safe and content. After the shelter closed, Jim aided the Ramtown Fire Company in responding to calls. In this narrative, Jim talks about his experience in the storm, the people he encountered in the shelter, and the fire calls he answered back in his hometown.

Searching for a sense of normalcy

MaryAnn Nagy lives in Eatontown, New Jersey, and is the Vice President of Student Affairs at Monmouth University. The University became a temporary relief shelter for Monmouth County residents during the storm. MaryAnn organized food preparation for the shelter, and she also provided support to the remaining students on campus who were unable to evacuate. In her narrative, she discusses the preparation of the shelter, the challenges she faced in keeping the shelter stocked, and the plans she put into place to keep students safe during the storm.