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Morristown Relief Effort for the Shore, Images and Words

A second collection is set for Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It's about perspective, and appreciating what you have. That is what Berit Ollestad experienced when the Morristown resident went down last weekend to help with a relief effort coordinated by the Morristown Fire Department. 

Her description of what she experienced is below:

If practice makes perfect than Morristown is well on its way to perfection. For the second time in less than two years, Morristown and its residents have stuffed relief trucks intended for communities that were hit hard during the tornado outbreak last year down south and more recently the victims of Sandy.

"We will continue to send trucks to areas affected by Sandy; until the need is no longer there," said Morristown Firefighter Nick Prizzi, organizer of the relief effort held this past Sunday at the firehouse over on Speedwell Avenue.

The biggest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic ocean wreaked havoc up and down the Jersey Shore and parts of New York.

"It has destroyed people's lives and they have nothing left; it's the very least we can do to help out," said Jane Meldrum of Morristown. Meldrum accompanied by her 10-year-old daughter Annika, brought bags of canned goods and pasta that she wanted to contribute to the relief effort set for the Shore the following day.

Christine Schmutz of Boonton Township wanted to donate and help load the truck. "I tend to be empathetic and put myself in others shoes," she said. "It's important for us to take care of one-another especially now. I remember when I was in college back in 1969, before we were married, my husband and I would spend weekends in Seaside Heights walking the boardwalk for hours, it's just heart-breaking."

Tanya Maximoff of Montville heard about the relief effort here in Morristown and knew she had to do something. So she set up a collection among her co-workers at her chiropractic office.

Catherine Poli of Morristown came loaded down with supplies fresh from a trip from the local WalMart. "When I found out that Morristown was holding a relief drive, I wanted to help anyway I could," she said. "It's especially nice when the town gets involved because not only does it make it easy to contribute because it's 'in my own backyard' but it makes it more personal."

Like Maximoff, a graduate of Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) in Long Branch, Poli has ties to the Shore. She recounted going to Point Pleasant with her family when she was younger and some of her favorite memories growing up were jumping the waves with her brother and sister.

Originally the relief truck Sunday was set for a warehouse located in Toms River. But because of the generous out-pouring of support that the victims of Sandy have been receiving, available space was an issue. Fortunately, the Seaside Heights fire department accepted our donations on behalf of their town.

Many of these communities will continue to need our support during the rebuilding phase. Therefore we will be sending another relief truck down on Dec. 2 after holding our second relief effort on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Morristown Firehouse on Speedwell Avenue.

Coreen Onnembo November 16, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I am a Morris Township resident ( Dellwood Ave) and thank Berit Ollestad for the pictures. My home is gray with burgandy shutters/black roof/ 17- 2nd Ave. This was a 3 unit condo/3 family home. I owned the middle unit. As you can see from the picture it was knocked off the foundation and from what I'm told won't be repaired. I'm emotionally & financially heartbroken.. I'm told .your homeowners insurance doesn't cover these storms nor does FEMA cover 2nd homes. How do you pay a mortgage for something that no longer exits? Flood insurance only pays to rebuild the structure..Any information will be appreciated. I am lucky to have a home in Morris Township, so many of my friends are now homeless as this was their primary residence. Please pray ............ Coreen Onnembo
Berit Ann Ollestad November 16, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Dear Coreen- I am so sorry for your loss. Although, I didn't grow up here in NJ and I don't have the memories or the connections that many of you have; my heart broke when I saw all the devastation. What I've learned over the years is pictures speak volumes and the news & newspapers weren't capturing the devastation (in my opinion) that I was seeing everywhere. So, when the people of Seaside Heights asked me "to make sure that folks bavk here didn't forget about them after all the hype went away" I gave them my word that we wouldn't. Therefore, I knew I had to try and capture the images of what had happened in Seaside Heights (and numerous other communities) the best I could to show people back here why we have to continue to put together these relief trucks. What I did learn is that the resilience and steely commitment of the people over at the Shore is impressive and I have no doubt they will re-build their towns and rise again....
Coreen Onnembo November 16, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Berit, The pictures you photographed are mostly Ortley Beach ( known now as Ground Zero) though our zip code is the same as SeaSide Heights. My Street, 2nd Ave is the 2nd street in Ortley heading South. Seaside Heights starts about a mile down so your pics were Ortley Beach. So many of my neighbors were able to see their homes because of you. Thanks again. I'm heading down tomorrow to attempt to get in and gather some belongings. Going to be very emotional..My house has an emotional story attached with it.... Look at it as The Ortley of Oz Coreen
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