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Ortley Beach

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.

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.

Paying it Forward

Gina Cavallo lives in West Orange, New Jersey. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, she used her background in healthcare to help displaced homeowners in Ortley Beach and Lavallette. Seeing the degree of need, she founded the Paying It Forward Foundation, a grassroots initiative to provide relief assistance to those affected by the storm. Over the past two years, Paying It Forward has helped numerous families affected by Sandy to restore their homes and rebuild their lives. In this narrative, Gina discusses her work on the shore and the challenges of the rebuilding process.

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.

This town was Ground Zero

Dorothy Ross, born in 1928, has lived in New Jersey all of her life. For the last forty years she has been resided year-round in Ortley in a home located three blocks from the ocean and two blocks from the bay. She is heavily involved in her church: Saint Elizabeth’s Chapel by-the-Sea in Ortley Beach. During Hurricane Sandy, she evacuated to her daughter’s home in California. She returned to find her home severely damaged and the Chapel completely destroyed. In her narrative, Dorothy talks about the rebuilding process, as well as how her family and church community have helped her cope with the recovery process.

Hoping it is that once-in-a-lifetime storm

Crystal Tenore lives in Ortley Beach, New Jersey, and since 2011 she has owned and operated Crystal’s Beach Salon. She married just two days before Hurricane Sandy, and many of her wedding photos were taken in notable locations in Seaside Heights. On returning from her honeymoon, she saw the tremendous devastation to her business caused by eight feet of flooding. In her narrative, Crystal talks about the challenges she has faced in rebuilding her business.