I say it all the time. GSD is we, not me. I can not say it enough.
In the past I have avoided mixing LFP with GSD, but this blog is the best platform I have to say what you are about to read. If you have met me you know I talk – a lot, don’t take he answer no very well, and come hell or high water will stand by what I believe. The Sandpaper article
was great but there is SO much more to be said. Here it goes…
Somehow I ended up on the phone with the Beach Haven EOC and learned they were just about out of food. 75 workers and volunteers, many of who lost their own homes, working around the clock to keep things moving and they were running out of food. I called Tim and we made it happen. Within hours we had a trailer FULL of food and supplies, clearance to the Island, and off we went. Where did that trailer full of items come from – YOU. All of the GSD. It was everyone, not just us.
As all of this started happening, my husband was cleaning out our friends homes countless hours a day. He utilized his knowledge and equipment from work to help those we know (it’s all about starting where you can!) and would come home and answer ENDLESS questions and explain things to myself and those who came to our home and the GSD looking for help. A factor of Sandy people over look is knowledge and accountability. There are new “contractors” popping up all over. Be wary. Be careful. Be educated. PLEASE only use contractors that are well known and have been around a long time. Hubs Company was mentioned in the article:QMA Design and Build
. They are opening a second location on LBI as I type this. I am not mentioning this for business and publicity – they don’t need my help in that area. They were just named number 124 IN THE NATION (out of how many thousands?!) for remodeling firms. (I can brag a bit! I am proud of them!) Why am I mentioning this? Because SO many direct need families have come to us looking for help on what to do next, on who to hire, or how the process works. If you see companies working with QMA, have faith they are legit. Have faith they know what they are doing. Get on lists with those plumbers, electricians ect. If you meet Dan out and about and have a question – ASK him. Don’t be shy. He grew up here also. He feels just as strongly about GSD as we do. There are many more legitimate construction companies; I am not saying all are bad. I know some great ones! I am saying to be educated and research your choices, ask around, and ask more!
The GSD met a family of 18 in the beginning. They gave us a list of things they needed. When they told me six bunk beds, I was a little nervous. Local real estate agent Janis Olson, and SHE made that happen. 5 of those 6 bunk beads came from her. I understand an article could never mention every single name I said, that would be impossible! The GSD is what we do together and what we do on our own- Janis is a wonderful example of this. She has done SO much with GSD and other organizations.
So many people, many who I didn’t know before this, stepped up and worked round the clock. Kelly McGee Williams of Abbey Mortgage in Barnegat has been full speed since day one. I could call with kinds of crazy, and she never batted an eye. Nicole Archibald helped in more ways than I could list. Laura Pallotta was the one who got the beds donated from Value City Furniture for the Dodi Family and so much more. We worked together more times than I can count. Stephanie Rascio helped fill direct need orders for families and helped make Christmas happen. Nicole Richards and Bill Tallman adopted a family for Christmas and drove out to Philly to make magic happen and met me on several occasions to help get donations from A to B. Lucinda Manfra –she housed a GARAGE FULL of donations and helped us as needed. Andrea Soper and Amber Meyers showed up with food upon food to help feed people. Carolyn Fay and Kerri Gunn did more laundry then I could count, showed up on a moments notice as needed and brought food to feed an army. Michele Torres, in the middle of moving, came and picked up more loads of laundry than I can remember. Laura Lonieski rolled through with paper product for days. Robbyn Lusk came and cleaned my house, lets be honest, it was a hot mess for a while there! Melissa Colymeyer and Nicole Hilbert came over with donations to help with direct need families. Tiffany Johnson who always wanted to GSD despite the damage to her own home. This list is ten miles long. I am sure by now you get the idea – the GSD is we not me.
Gift cards came from family in NJ and PA, total strangers, local PD, Jessica DeFrancia and the awesome Rachel and Meghan at Hello, Gorgeous Photography. I honestly appreciate each and every one of you.
I also can’t ever begin to say enough about the Stanish Family, absolutely wonderful people. Mark is going to hate me for writing this, but it’s ok. Mark Stanish worked insane hours in the freezing cold like every other officer. All local Police did a great job, scratch that, AMAZING job. I have not a single complaint about any of them, and if you do, keep it to yourself. Our conversation will not go well. Mark worked insane hours and just about EVERY SINGLE DAY text me asking what we still needed, what time did he need to be up to use his truck to deliver items, what could he still do. I would try and tell him to slow down, but if his beautiful wife and daughters weren’t home (he barely got to see his family like every other officer) he wanted to be doing more. Danielle (his wife) was no different, always asking to help and coming through with delivery. One of the best things she did for GSD? She introduced me to the Cottons. I don’t even have words to describe my love for the Cotton family. If I start to get into all they did I will writing for another month. All I will say is that they are kind, genuine, giving and AWESOME.
There are big names out there doing big things: Jetty, Waves for Water, Red Cross, and so many more. I don’t need to tell you about them. I want to tell you about the all the names you may not have seen.
There are people like David from David’s Dream and Believe, Marsha from the Martin Truex Jr Foundation, Joe Mangino, Dan Wilhelm and so many more who work round the clock to make a difference. I consider myself privileged to call any of them friends. David is the most genuine and self-less person I have ever met who provides a vital service to people in need. Marsha NEVER asks for a thank you, and does all her work behind the scenes. I have spent many-a-night there while we have spent hours getting things done. I admire her mother in law, Betty Anne McVey in a way I don’t know that I can articulate correctly. She is gentle but tough, kind but serious, and dedicated beyond words. Her ability be direct and make things happen is amazing. It takes a certain type of person to do what she does all day, and she does it better than anyone I know. Joe Mangino is a local hero in my book. Everything you have read and heard is true, and he is the type of man I am sure most people hope their son grow up to be. Dan Wilhelm works for ING and has come to our rescue more times than I can count. What he has done to help our Sandy families in regards to mortgages and all overall financial situations is amazing. I am more appreciative than I can ever express.
Last but certainly not least – Addie Fraser and Jeff Melchiondo Jr. EVERY SINGLE TIME the GSD needed something, they are there. Be it on their own or through D.O.V.E. We get families that have needs and send them right there. I appreciate their dedication to our community.
All of these people have their own organizations, and do their own thing. I am speaking their name because when we have needed help, they have all come through. The GSD is NOT a “legitimate” organization and will never be. We are just people of the community who pull together and get things done. All the organizations were matched directly with needs we came upon, and worked with the families themselves. That is what GSD is about – you tell us what you need and we can find out how to try and make it happen. I want to be clear that any name I mention helped people directly. These organizations are all very serious about what they do and do it all by the books. We just have found families with needs, and these groups were often able to help. The integrity of wonderful organizations is something that should never be compromised. We all have a role in the Sandyaftermath, be it big or small.
Why do I need to bring all this up? Why do I need to type all of this? Because the GSD is so much more than anyone can describe in a few paragraphs. When out home, our friends and our neighbors fell upon hard times – we joined together and made things happen. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to everyone who stood up after Sandy and did what they could. You are all appreciated.