I remember the last time my family and I arrived at Seagull Motel in Seaside Heights, N.J. I always enjoyed the salty smell of the ocean, the warmth of the sand on my bare feet and the screams in the distance from the rides on the pier. I loved walking on the boardwalk and riding the Jet Star, the first roller coaster I ever went on. Our vacations were the same, but this is where my favorite memories are.
A storm destroyed it all. Hurricane Sandy washed away both piers including the Jet Star, which still lays in the ocean, most of the boardwalk, and destroyed homes and buildings, including Seagull Motel. I saw before and after pictures, and I did not want to believe that this was really happening.
Two weeks later, my friend Ryan Flood talked to me about going down to New Jersey to help clean up from the disaster. Our trip started off small until the word was spread. Over 30 people emailed me about wanting to volunteer and we ended up going with 15 people total.
We did not go to Seaside Heights because police officers only allowed authorized people in. Although I really wanted to help peoplethere, I am thankful to have helped others in Toms River, N.J. The families cried about our presence and kept telling us that they were blessed for our arrival.
Ryan and I want to thank a few people for helping us. President Wolk for supporting us and paying for dinner one night, Student Government Association for funding our trip, Melissa Paradee for helping us through the process, Sodexo for providing us food, The book store for donating Castleton State College t-shirts, Woodruff for donating more t-shirts and Dr. William Frey for donating $100 for dinner one night. Also, Tina Betit, Erik Berthiaume, Leah Van Buren, Michelle Rossman, Nick Tubolino, Ethan Jones, Molly Stratton, Aimee Hetzel, Colleen Kunz, Jessica Lusher, Emily Burke, Megan Sargent, and Emily Berthiaume for volunteering with Ryan and me.
Senior, Social Work and Sociology with a concentration in Community Studies and a Civic Engagement Certificate