WOW! I thought I saw the worst of Atlantic City’s storms as I lived through the Hurricane of 1944. It caused the Heinz Pier to wash away. It took out the end of the Steel Pier and made sections of the Boardwalk look like a roller coaster.
I thought I saw the worst nor’easter in 1962 when the ocean met the bay and homes in the Inlet section were flooded. Those who resided there lived in the Central Junior High School’s gymnasium for three weeks before housing was found for them.
However, Sandy, the hybrid of a hurricane and a nor’easter, will go down in history as the Hundred Year Storm of this century.
Since the storm of 1962, which was a prolonged northeast storm, we have had hurricanes in the '80s and '90s that gave us just a taste of what might happen in the future. Those of us who have lived through these storms had a feeling that they could be worse, but at the last minute their paths changed and the problems they could have caused were curtailed. Within the past year or so we have had Irene, which caused the evacuation of Cape May County and the barrier islands of Atlantic County.
In addition, this past summer we experienced the June derecho storm. This caused a number of trees to fall and created havoc on our highways. It was the least-expected storm of all I’ve known.
Basically, all of these helped to train us for what took place when Sandy came to New Jersey. In the past, there was a lot of talk about 10 foot storm surges and one had yet to see them. However, this time they saw it and they didn’t like it. It brought water to areas of Atlantic City that have never had it before. It made swimming pools out of some of our streets. The wind was not as high as we have had in past years, but it was more damaging. The amount of rainfall was shocking.
First, let me inform you that the section of the Boardwalk that you have been seeing on television came from the Inlet and was from a section that was destined to be removed. For the past several years it has been hanging on waiting until it was removed.
Money was finally allocated for its demolition by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and it was scheduled to come down before spring. The rest of the Boardwalk held up against Sandy. I just received a call telling me that the Boardwalk Empire facade is still standing without any damage.
Thank you, first responders
First responders from the city, county and state are to be commended for the marvelous way they reacted to the problems caused by Sandy. Many of these men and women are volunteers who join with the professional emergency management teams to look after the best interests of our communities. Training is given to those who participate in putting other people before themselves in emergency situations.
Millions of dollars are spent to train them, provide the necessary equipment for them and the funds necessary to house those in need. The finest equipment in the marketplace is put at their disposal and they use them in accordance to their need. In my opinion, the public must realize that in this state we have the highest quality of first responders equivalent to any in the nation.
The public responds
As in most emergency situations, one will find ordinary citizens stepping forth to aid and assist those in distress.
Many times they are among the first to help. We hear very little about them, but many of us have watched them in action. They will step forward to aid and assist someone in need of attention and do their best to keep them in a good condition until help arrives. There were many examples of this during the battle with Sandy. Some just knocked on their neighbors’ doors to inform them of a directive from the police and emergency management team.
Speaking of the EMTs, one cannot say enough about them. They do all they can and more to preserve the life of someone in need. They are the unspoken heroes of just about any accident or call for medical attention. Too often, no one thinks to say “Thank you” to them. They walk away with their head held high knowing that they helped someone continue to live their life.
One should be aware that people throughout this area opened their doors to strangers and assisted those who had to go to shelters.
They looked after elders and well as the young. They took their turn in line for food and helped those who were in need. Those who provide the assistance do not look for thank yous, but know within their hearts that they did something for their fellow man.
Our thanks to the good Lord
We were so fortunate that Sandy chose to speed her visit to the Jersey Shore and didn’t pause but rushed past us, thereby causing less damage than she might have if she’d stayed longer. Regardless of your religious beliefs, or lack of, you must realize that there was a reason why Sandy ran on by us. That reason is that most of us believe in the Lord and take time to let it be known that we will live by his commands in the best way we can.
Tonight, before you go to bed, take a few minutes and kneel down by your bedside and say thank you for saving us from a catastrophe.
The good thing that comes out of this experience is that we should never be afraid of what the future holds but be prepared for what it has to offer. Obviously, we came out on the good side, even though there was a lot of water, wind and problems we will have for many years. It could have been a lot worse.
Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, “WMGM Presents Pinky,” airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: firstname.lastname@example.org.