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Superstorm Sandy: Volunteers big part of NJ shore's comeback

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 29 2013 04:00:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 04:38:06 PM CDT

The New Jersey coastline was one of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

OCEAN CO., N.J. -

The New Jersey coastline was one of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. Now a year later, volunteers are still working to restore the shore.

"It feels really great to be able to contribute after a year of seeing the devastation on the beach," said Warren Werner, a volunteer.

Werner was one of 150 at Island Beach State Park in Ocean Co., N.J., taking part in one of 50 statewide Hurricane Sandy renovation projects.

Work included repairing beach fences, renovating a damaged firehouse and painting and repairing lifeguard chairs.

It was called Sandy Service Day, a partnership between The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Jersey Cares, headed by the state's first lady, Mary Pat Christie.

"Wanted to remind people that there is still a lot of work to be done. We need their spirit, energy and elbow grease to really keep working," Christie said.

More than 3,000 volunteers signed up, including high school senior Mariah Tarabocchia, who grew up going to the Jersey shore.

"Part of my childhood. I feel like I'm helping my childhood and future children who would go down here," she said.

A year after the storm, Christie said 39,000 Garden State residents remain displaced, and more than 100,000 homes still need to be elevated.

A business owner told 69 News there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. He said business was down 50 percent and empty and abandoned homes still scatter the landscape.

The relief fund has raised close to $40 million to date. It's money Christie thinks will enable the Jersey shores' best days to still be on the horizon.

"I really do believe we will be stronger," she said.