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Letter to the Editor: Point Beach Police Chief Thanks Community

Kevin O'Hara thanks staff, volunteers and "neighbors helping neighbors"

 

An Open Letter of Thanks to All Who Helped During Hurricane Sandy

As I sit here writing this letter it has been three weeks to the day that “Sandy” impacted all of our lives.  Thanksgiving is now only a few days away, when “Sandy” came we were waiting for Halloween’s arrival.  In one sense it seems like only yesterday that “Sandy” was beating on our door step and in another it seems like months ago. The past three and a half weeks or so seem like a blur, like a bad dream.  It is impossible to convey in words my true feelings of thanks to all those who pitched in during such a trying time, so many who stood tall in the face of adversity and did all they could to try to make all of our lives move forward as smoothly as possible.  I’ll try, and hopefully I do not forget anyone.  

The emergency management team of Guy Dempsey, Kyle Grace, and Clint Daniel, simply put, “Job Well Done!”  Most people do not realize the hours you all put in, away from your families so that our little piece of the shore could prepare and recover as well as we did.  Your long days started on October 23rd in preparation for the unknown, and continued 10 or more days past the worst devastation our town has witnessed in close to 100 years.  We took a very hard hit, but we were fortunate that we all came out of it alive with no major injuries. 

All of my fellow police officers, including Lieutenants Dikun and Michigan, Sergeants Goessel, Ippolito, Duffy, and Quaglia, your planning, execution, and leadership was the best I have ever seen.  All of the patrol officers, dispatchers, and special officers you all carried out your duties in exemplary fashion and at times with little regard for your own safety, you put others first, you put our community first.  Many of you worked 16 to 20 hour days, 7 or more days in a row, and without complaining.  Some of you knowing your own families were home alone without you, and some of your families houses were being flooded while you were here helping others.  Many of you ate here, slept here, and showered here. Thank you all!

The volunteer fire companies and first aid squad members:  As with the police officers mentioned above, you also worked long days, had many sleepless nights, away from home and away from your families providing aid to our community, while in harm’s way.  You didn’t do this for recognition; you did it out of your commitment to your duties as volunteers, your commitments to each other and your commitment to Point Beach.  Thank you all, it was a pleasure serving side by side with each of you.

To all of the businesses, (too many to name), that donated food and supplies so that all of the first responders could get a hot meal and continue their duties.  To the volunteers at the firehouse who worked in the kitchen preparing the meals, some of you worked 12 or more hours a day, several days in a row preparing hot meals three times a day for over 100 first responders, road crews, and others who were trying to keep order.  Your efforts did not go unnoticed, for many of us the meal break was a place to rest, reenergize, and share in the camaraderie with others; it was a really nice break for all of us, Thank you!

To the wives, husbands, children, parents, and family members who watched all of us walk out the door to confront the storm; all of you not knowing when we would return.  You were all stuck at home while we were out helping others.  Storm after storm, while most families try to stay together to ride out the weather you’ve been left at home without us.  Thank you for understanding our duties and for always being supportive. 

To Mayor Barrella and all the Council members, the Boro Administrator and Boro Clerk, your support was appreciated.  You allowed us to perform our duties, as professionals, and you supported all of our requests. Pre storm we met several times and made plans as a unified community and after the storm during the start of the recovery period you helped us to facilitate as speedy a recovery as was possible.  Thank you!

To the members of the US Coast Guard Station Manasquan, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Dept., the NJSP and out of state troopers who supplemented them, in our time of need you were all there to help us, Thank you all!

To Tom Curcio and the Ocean County road department, John Trout and the Point Pleasant Beach DPW, and the sub contractors hired to assist all of you, your cleanup efforts were amazing.  The speed in which the sand and debris were removed from the roadways made the recovery move ahead as quickly as possible.  I know your job is still not done, but you’ve made quite a dent and it has helped all of us immensely. Thank you!

To all of the other volunteers out there, too many to name, at the churches, the service organizations, the schools, and just neighbors helping neighbors.  Hurricane Sandy stretched the fabric of our community to the limit, but we did not tear.  Our community; all of you and all of us; woven together is too strong of a fabric to break.  As we move forward to recover and rebuild our community let us all work together to keep our community fabric strong and work as one for the good of Point Pleasant Beach.  The road to recovery may be long but together it will be successful.   

 

Kevin R. O’Hara

Chief of Police, Point Pleasant Beach

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