When I woke up one year ago today, on Oct. 30, 2012, I was shocked at what I saw.
Hurricane Sandy had ravaged my home area [the Jersey Shore] the night before, causing us to live without power throughout the night.
When I woke up, my family and I walked to the beach to see the destruction of Sandy. What I saw was surreal. Sandy had washed away years of memories and replaced them with broken pieces of boardwalk and sand piled everywhere.
As I traveled town to town, it was a similar story: thousands of homes flooded, power lines down everywhere and first responders rescuing hundreds of people who were stranded in their homes.
What I saw post-Sandy was much more than the sum of the destruction, but became defined by the thousands of volunteers who came to our aid and the countless selfless acts between neighbors.
One year later, and the area I call home is essentially back to “normal” as the boardwalks were rebuilt and we were open for summer. But, much still remains as thousands still remain displaced, with some still living with no time frame to move back home.
As I reflect on the year since Sandy, I realize how strong we were as a community and as a state. Amidst the destruction, we banded together to help strangers and friends alike, forged new friendships and helped create our new sense of normalcy.
Today is a day of reflection to remember what happened one year ago. But it is also a turning stone in our recovery, telling us to not forget the past, but also forward to the future.