The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu


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 Thief in the Night

Susan Dietz has lived in Point Pleasant Beach with her husband for over 43 years. During Hurricane Sandy, her husband was out of town; she rode out the storm inside of her hilltop mansion with her daughter and two grandchildren. In her narrative, Susan discusses the unusual flood damages to her house that forced her family to leave the home they had lived in for 38 years and undergo a recovery process that is still not totally complete over a year after the storm. Susan also discusses how her humble work with the recovery efforts of her local fire department in the days after the storm shaped her perspective of the devastation. Continue Reading

“We Escaped the Wrath of God”

Jimmy and Annie Karol are residents in both Oradell and Manahawkin, New Jersey. During Hurricane Sandy, their house in Manahawkin was completely devastated by the storm, with the entire first floor flooded, their boat in their next door’s neighbor, and their pool filled with their jet ski’s floating dock. In their narrative, they discuss the horrors of returning to their house and their recovery process. Continue Reading

“The Only Shining Light: The Volunteers”

Vera Pizzo is a resident of Long Branch, New Jersey and has lived in her family home for decades. During Hurricane Sandy, her house was desecrated by the storm, with the sewer waters and the creek just behind her house, overwhelming the inside of the house, causing it to be torn down. In her narrative, she talks about her experiences of being unemployed while trying to rebuild her house and all of the challenges that she confronted. From this, it seems that her work alongside the volunteers that came and worked on her house is the only thing still keeping her afloat to get back her family home. Continue Reading

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

No, never in a million years

Courtney Chibbaro lives in South Seaside Park, New Jersey. After Hurricane Sandy, she became heavily involved in the recovery and rebuilding efforts in barrier island communities. Notably, she organized a “Christmas on the Island” party and gift-giving caravan that brought a bit of Christmas joy to people from Lavallette to Seaside. In her narrative, Courtney discusses challenges of recovery and rebuilding as well as the spirit of community that emerged after the storm. Continue Reading

We have a long way to go

William Mullen is a resident of Ortley Beach, New Jersey. For 33 years he worked as a social worker for the Monmouth County Division of Social Services. Hurricane Sandy completely destroyed his home as well as his car and nearly all of his possessions. The storm surge was so powerful that it sheared off half of his home, floated it more than 200 yards away, and deposited it on Route 35. In this narrative, he discusses the relief effort, as well as the challenges he has faced in rebuilding his home. Continue Reading

We have so many people to lean on

Angela and Daniel O’Cone are high school teachers living in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. They bought and renovated a new home less than a year before Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage to it. While trying to rebuild, they faced many challenges in attempting to claim their losses from insurance companies. Luckily they had the support of their friends and family to help them every step of the way. Continue Reading

It really was like a movie, I swear

Aurora Silletti is a lifelong resident of the Jersey shore and owner of Ultimate Dance Studio in Toms River. Like many others, she and her family stayed in their home during the storm rather than evacuate. In its aftermath, they were displaced from their home for months and lived with family members while rebuilding. In this narrative, Aurora discusses her thoughts as the storm was taking place as well as the challenges they have faced in rebuilding. 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