TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August 20th and I am in Union Beach. Can you state your name?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Anthony Cavallo.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And your age, if you don't mind sharing?


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: For the record, can you state ethnicity?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I am Italian and Maltese.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How long have you lived in your home?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: My grandfather built it in 1960, so I was born here forty-eight years ago.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How many rooms are in the house?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Ten, eleven, and two bathrooms.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you know is there are any specific reason why you stayed in this neighborhood?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: This was my grandfather's American dream when he built this house. The neighborhood is a family type neighborhood. This is home. There 1:00was no question of me ever leaving.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Tell me who makes up your family who lives in the home with you.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Me, my wife, Jean, and my daughter, Amy.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. What is you occupation?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I install burglar alarms during the day, and on the weekend I'm reverend and I marry people.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Cool. How long have you been doing what you do?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I've been installing burglar alarms for thirty years, since I got out of high school.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you mind sharing around roughly your salary income or your bracket?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: About 60, 70,000.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. What do you like about living in New Jersey?


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Is that what attracted you to…

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Living by the water, there is a calming, a peaceful part of 2:00that. There is that the mindset of the shore people. We're in the middle and close to everything. Half hour, forty-five minutes, I can be in New York.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Tell me about your neighborhood and your community, or how involved you are.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I am involved -- was this before the storm or after the storm?


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I'm involved a lot with our church. I work at the church's food pantry. I do a lot of the activities. I do the sound and production, and my daughter also does part of the production at church with me.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I'm involved in the music. Anytime there's something going on in town, we seem to be involved in it. We assist with a bunch of stuff after 3:00the storm with the food pantry, with anonymous stuff through a little project my daughter set up where the hope tree or various community type things.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Which church is this?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Faith Chapel, in Union Beach.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Can you tell me about the schools and the economics of the town?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: My daughter was a valedictorian last year.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Congratulations.

SPEAKER 2: Thank you.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: It's a good school system. The economics of the town, these are all our full-time houses. Nobody here is rich. Most people, including us, work and live paycheck to paycheck. Actually, right now, I am unemployed 4:00because I got fired because my mind wasn't on my job since I lost my house in Sandy. But everybody kind of lives paycheck to paycheck. It's not an overly rich shore Long Beach Island weekend house. These are our full-time houses.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Can you tell me about when you first heard the storm was coming?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I probably heard it about a week out and there's a possibility of a storm coming to hit us. I kept an eye on it as time went on. Like I said, my grandfather built this house in 1960. We never ever had a drop of water in our house. So I wasn't overly concerned with the storm even when I heard it was 5:00coming and it was going to be big. We don't get water here. Up until Sunday, after church, I was fighting with my family. We're not leaving. I talked to a good friend at church, and he's a smart older guy, and when he says something, he says it and he knows what he's talking about. You listen to him, Mr. Wells.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: He said, "Get out." He talked to some of his friends and he talked to things and he goes, "They're seeing numbers on the storm that they've never seen." He said, "The worst case, you spend the night out with your family. Worse case, you stay home, you could die."


ANTHONY CAVALLO: That was my deciding factor to actually leave, and I am very, very thankful we did.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How did you prepare since you decided to leave or prior?


ANTHONY CAVALLO: It was Sunday afternoon and we have two cats and we took the cats to a kennel. We just packed a bag with some clothes for a day or two. We knew we were going to lose power. We were going to be coming home probably Tuesday or so the morning after the storm. We're coming home.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: It wasn't a long-term packing evacuation. Again, we never get water here, so there is no reason to pack anything.

SPEAKER 2: We just left stuff off the floors in case we get an inch or two, at most.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: My worst-case scenario was we might get an inch or two, six inches in the house, we got to change some carpets and flooring and stuff like 7:00that. I took computers. I took anything of value when I got them off the ground level. I put stuff on the dining room table. I put stuff on the kitchen table. I put it on my computer desk. I unplugged the computer, put it on the desk, because we don't get water.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: The water was probably two feet or so over the dining room table and over the computer desk and over the kitchen table, so everything is gone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you believe that there was adequate warning in your area?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yes. I believe there was adequate warning from the town and from the operations emergency management in the news. I think the issue was stubborn people like myself that say, "We've never had water. I'm not leaving." Then when the water's up to you knees in your house, then they're calling for help.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Okay. Take me through the day of the storm. Where 8:00did you go when you evacuated?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We went to Faith Chapel.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: Which is right on Union Avenue, right off the block from the hope tree.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: It turns out it's the highest point in Union Beach. The pastor and I and my family and his wife, we stayed and we didn't know. We knew there was a storm. They had cut power to the town, so we were in the dark. We actually went to sleep. We just had some winds, figured we'd just gotten a hurricane. We've had hurricanes before. And we didn't know until the next morning how bad it was.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How are you getting information? Were you trying to contact anybody else apart from your immediate family members?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We had no Internet. We had no cellphone service. We had no 9:00TV. We had no power. Little bits, it was very weird. It seemed like it came in waves. You would get a blip on your phone and the Internet's working for ten minutes. You can get a message out. And the way we communicated the best was Facebook.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I remember posting something, "We're okay. We're staying at the church." Then the Internet was gone. Then eight hours, later when the Internet came back, I had twenty-seven responses to it. That's how we were getting in touch with my family up north and my wife's family in Ohio, my daughter's friends and everybody.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What cellphone service do you have?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We have T-Mobile.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's right. Yeah. That happened to me too.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: It was popping up at AT&T at some point. They merged or something.



ANTHONY CAVALLO: It would say AT&T and then it's gone. Like I say, it was like waves.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. It happened with me too.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What was going through your head when you woke up the next day?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: When I got up the next morning, it was a normal day. My wife and the pastor's wife and my daughter were cooking breakfast at the church, and I just kept saying, "I just need to know that my house is okay." It was about probably seven in the morning, me and the pastor said, "We're going to go scouting around and see how everything made out last night." Because we still didn't know. At that point, we left the church and we were just coming here just see how high the water was, see if everything was okay. We left Faith Chapel, and as we were driving down Union Avenue, I remember looking down in the 11:00distance and saying, "I think somebody's shed blew into the street." As we got closer, I realized it was the second story of a house. We had parked and we saw the pastor's daughter's haircutting shop had been destroyed. We saw houses that there used to be a house here and there's no house here. We walked to Brooke Avenue, which was right there, and we came across a guy that was crying. He said, "Have you seen it?" We said, "Have we seen what?" He said the whole street's gone. As we turned the corner, it was like a bomb went off. There was debris everywhere. Houses were just gone. We heard the gas coming up from the houses. We said we can't go any further, we've got to get out of here because 12:00one spark and this whole thing's going to blow up.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We started worming our way back, and I remember -- it's the funny things that stick in your head. I remember saying, "I hope I don't get a flat from all of the stuff in the street." There's houses that are devastated and there's houses in the street, and I'm worried about a flat. I am still not really concerned about my house because we're three blocks in from the water.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: As we were making our way back, one of the cops blocked the road, and I remember her saying, "Where are you going?" I said, "We're going to my house on [Dock] Street just to check everything out." She said, "Good luck." I looked and I was like, "Good luck? For what? We don't get water." Then we came and I saw the water line on the front door and everything in the house was just turned over and it was gone. Then, by the time I got back, it was probably 13:00an hour and a half later, Amy, my wife, Jean and Pastor Ruth, were still cooking breakfast for us, because they didn't know.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I had to tell my family that it was gone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you describe the mood of the community?



ANTHONY CAVALLO: Then? Shocked. Devastation. That it was… we've never seen anything like this. This doesn't happen. You see things like this on TV that happen in faraway places.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: Sometimes it's still a bad dream. It just seems to pop up, "Holy cow, this is real. This really did happen." In the beginning, it was 14:00shock, but also, everybody started to band together. There was an immediate network response of people helping each other. Within two days, things were being set up for people to help and to get food and to get supplies and all that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Tell me how the day proceeded from when you got back to the church.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: When I got back to the church, I sat my wife and daughter down, and my wife is bringing me scrambled eggs. I told her, "It's gone." She didn't 15:00understand. I told my daughter, and at that point, I don't even remember if we ate. I might have eaten a little something. I don't even remember. It's just from that point, it's a blur.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I know they wanted to see the house, and then we ventured back over to the house to see the destruction.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Who did you look for support? Did you call your insurance companies and FEMA?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yes. When we were able to get through -- we had no phone service.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We were trying to get through, and it turns out that the insurance company was in North Jersey and their office was trashed, so we couldn't get through to them for two days. My agent, I should say, we actually 16:00wound out having to call the company direct and we had to fill the thing out online. When we had, it was a miracle. Like I said, we had waves of -- and it came up with -- we had Internet for ten minutes and we jumped on and got the application done. Then we helped another lady staying at the church. And three or four times, the Internet kicked out and it took some time to get through. So we got through to them on the Internet, and then we got through to the insurance on the phone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How long did response take before they said they were coming down here?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: It took a couple of weeks for them to even get a thing back, or a week or so to get a thing back from insurance. FEMA, I want to say they were pretty quick with $2,800 for the rental assistance or something.



ANTHONY CAVALLO: I remember my flood adjuster came Thanksgiving weekend. It was almost a month before the insurance came.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Did the community have any protocols or curfews?


SPEAKER 2: Yeah, there was a curfew. I think was like seven or eight or something?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I thought it was eight or nine o'clock, maybe.

SPEAKER 2: If you weren't going anywhere.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. You can't wander around. And we also had checkpoints. You couldn't get down the street. The end of the street had a checkpoint, and you couldn't get any closer to the beach that way. Then if you got through that checkpoint, you had to get through a checkpoint right here at this street.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: And if you got through this one to go any further past my house, you had to get through another checkpoint.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How did you begin to cope?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: You just have a job to do and you focus. You go through, and 18:00you do what would you need to do. You need to clean your house before any mold comes. You need to try the salvage anything that you can. You just go. You don't have time to sit and think. Some of the things that we had to cope with was we had no hot water, so we can't take a shower. I remember at one point at church hugging my wife about five or six days after, and we'd work on the house from sun up to sun down. I remember hugging my wife and telling her, "I don't like being dirty." We had no heat, and it was getting down to the high forties or so that night. I remember being cold at night. A friend of mine had gotten 19:00-- he had a generator and he had hot water in Tinton Falls, but we couldn't get gas.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We had generators keeping the refrigerators going at church, so gas was a commodity, and we don't know when we're going to get more gas. We stood in line for three hours to get two little cans of gas to get us through four or five days. So we don't know when gas is going to be available again, so we have to actually make a choice: do we drive to Tinton Falls and waste gas just to take a shower? Or do we save the gas because we might need this gas to survive because we don't know when we're getting it again?


ANTHONY CAVALLO: You got by. We had set up an emergency food shelter at the church. There was donations across the street. The town had stuff. My 20:00daughter and her friends, one of the great things that I saw -- I don't know if I'm jumping ahead on your questions.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: No, it's okay. Go ahead.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: One of the things that I saw that was beautiful was four, five days in, when cell service was getting more regular, I saw my daughter and her friends set up a network that, "I got an extra pair of sneakers that you can have, and I've got a pair of shorts you can have for gym." "I got this and I lost my English book." The kids were setting up their own things. Some of my daughter's friends and my daughter left with the clothes they had on their back and maybe one or two things because we didn't know.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: It started happening with the kids, and it was happening with the adults, and it was an amazing thing to see people taking care of each other. 21:00Right around that time's when some mysterious guy found a washed up Christmas tree and set it up.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Did you feel safe during everything that was going on?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Safe? Yeah. Because here, the neighborhood was under locked down.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: There were looters running around. There were so many police, National Guard, sheriffs, Department of Correction. Safe, yes. Secure, no.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I understand. Can you explain to me about your cleanup, how that went?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We were sitting, and I think -- were you with me? You were with me, right?

SPEAKER 2: I think so.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: When we were cleaning the house. And again, you're hearing 22:00information, and everybody is saying you got a certain amount of time to get their stuff out before mold starts growing and this stuff is bad. I am just looking at my house, at everything. Stuff has turned over every place. I am just like, "Where I do start?"


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I could take this book off the coffee table and throw that out. Where am I starting? That means nothing. This book and this chair mean nothing. I have a whole house, and at that point, where I was just wandering around the house, there was a knock on the door, and it was the Mennonites. And they said, "We will clean your house out. We'll gut the floors, gut the walls, 23:00take everything out for you." It was a godsend. When you're throwing your life's treasures away, you have to stop and you have to look at every piece and remember about it.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I remember when my mother bought me this, this was my grandfather's. When an outsider does it, this is just a coffee mug that I'm throwing out. By the way, it was my grandfather's coffee mug. There is a disassociation when you have an outsider do it, which I think is what you needed because that's what happened. That's what you need for the speed. I still -- yesterday, this is nine and a half months or so. I went into my office in the 24:00house, and the house is coming down in ten days.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: I went into my office and started going through the stuff on my desk. My office, ninety percent is the way it was after the storm. I got the couch out of there. I got some of the other stuff, but my desk is there. My computer monitor is on the desk. My paper's all in the stuff, and I'm just searching through it because it was always something I'd get to one day, because I couldn't. That was my sanctuary in the house. That was important. I just started it yesterday because I have ten days to do it or I'm going to lose it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Okay. Tell me about the type of aid that you received and where it came from, whether it be a community aid or governmental aid.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We got the 2,800 from FEMA for the temporary housing. My 25:00wife's job helped out. They have an emergency fund, and I think they took up a collection from my wife, which is what helped us buy this trailer. FEMA later on wound up giving us a couple thousand dollars for contents. The town has been good. We did get a bowl of chili and a blanket from Red Cross. So that's what they did for us. That's kind of a dig. Salvation Army was very good. Most of the help, most of the sport -- and I don't want say just monetarily. Most of 26:00the support came from private people--came from our church, came from the town, came from the townspeople, came from people we don't even know. As far as big support from government, from -- no, there was nothing.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. How long was school out?


SPEAKER 2: Maybe two and a half weeks, something like that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Can you tell me any other ways that you contributed to the community during this time?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We worked our food pantry, which was -- we were every Saturday, but it was more than every Saturday. It was whenever somebody needed something 27:00and knocked on the door, they got it. And luckily, we were stocked, and stuff just showed up at the food pantry. We helped any way that we could. If it was helping a friend clean something up, if it was making somebody something to eat, whatever somebody needed. There was also -- one of the things about the community is we don't have a lot, but I'll share it with you. There are people that needed financial support. There are people that needed -- so, some of the blessings that we got, even though we were in need, we were able to funnel off to somebody else that needed it maybe a little bit more than we do.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: A little ways after, my daughter actually designed a t-shirt 28:00that she sold, and all the profits from the t-shirt actually go directly to people in need, directly to them, which is kind of the concept of the other thing, that getting a $25 gift card or a $50 gift card isn't going to change your life permanent -- maybe it is. Isn't going to make a drastic change in your life. It may put some gas in your tank. It may put some food on your table. But the big part of that is it lets people know that they're not alone and somebody cares for you, and that gives them hope. That's a big word around here. Because sometimes, when you have nothing, absolutely nothing -- we had people coming up to us looking for, "Do you have toilet paper? Do you have a 29:00toothbrush?" When you have nothing, hope's a nice thing to have. Things got funneled into people that way. We did have a prom dress event at our church, and again, just like with the hope tree, people want to help. And if you give people an avenue to help, you'd be amazed at the way they do help. We were looking to get some prom dresses for people that were affected. It wasn't just Union Beach. It wasn't our area. If you need a dress, come get a dress. We had moms coming because they're going to a wedding. It wasn't even just for prom. We were going to have one day of it, at our tiny little church that only 30:00holds a hundred people.

SPEAKER 2: We had over a thousand dresses in there.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I think it was 1,300, 1,400 dresses.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We got. Because people needed an avenue to help, and they did. We put the word, and it came from every place. It came from the Hope tree. It came from Colt Snack, it came from …

SPEAKER 2: I think there were people in the other states sending.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. Dresses were mailed in when they found out about it. It's an amazing thing, and it gives you a faith that the human race is actually pretty decent of heart.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Okay. How do you feel about the response that you did receive, both through the local government and through the federal government?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Local, great. Federal, very far away from greatness. Got nothing.



ANTHONY CAVALLO: I can go off twenty minutes on that, but…

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: If you want to, you're free to discuss it if you like.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: My flood insurance, which is federally backed, I had to fight with them for eight months because they told me my problem was erosion and flood insurance doesn't pay for erosion. The reason my house cracked in half is because of the water pressure that pushed the house. But the front half sunk two inches and twisted. The engineer feels that that could be from the moistening and loosening of the soil underneath the foundation. In turn, my adjuster said, "That's called erosion and we don't pay for erosion, sorry." I'm one of the lucky ones. There are people that lost their whole house. The whole 32:00first floor was wiped out. The second floor's hanging by a thread. The house comes down and they're told by flood insurance, "Well, the water line was only eight feet, so we're not paying for the second floor." Federal stuff is not very good. The big corporations stuff is not very good. It's the local neighbors helping neighbors, our town helping our town, our town helping other towns, churches, people in town. [Gigi], who lost her restaurant on the beach, was cooking meals for everybody in town and driving around in a little bus feeding people. The little things like that, when you lost everything, when you evacuate, you don't bring food.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We'll go to the restaurant and get something to eat. There's no power. The restaurants got no power. You ain't getting nothing to eat at a restaurant. McDonald's ain't open. There's no food. I think Shop-Rite at one 33:00point opened up after the water left, and they were taking cash only because you can't take credit cards.

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, they had no power and people were going in with flashlights, getting stuff.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: So I got off the federal thing. I'm sorry.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's okay. Do you think that New Jersey prepared adequately by having enough dunes raised and then requiring the houses to be raised?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Prepared adequately for what we had, I probably think so. Nobody ever saw a monster like Sandy. Like I said, this house was built in 1960. Never had it dropped. We were prepared. We were high enough. Now, the rules have changed. Now, we have to go higher. We have to raise our house eight feet. I don't know what's going to happen to people that can't raise their houses, but we're going to raise ours eight feet. They can come over our house.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that there is anything the state could have done differently?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: No. Other than -- you can't build the wall, this thing's coming, let's build the wall in a week. Getting involved with the town meetings and all that stuff, we've had a flood wall plan, a flood control system planned, approved by--going back to federal stuff--approved by the army corps of engineers I think in '97 or 2000, the thing. These things with the government don't happen overnight. This was approved many, many years ago, all set to go. The federal government never funded the project. Had the federal government funded this flood control wall system fifteen years ago or so, maybe this won't happen.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that anyone is to blame for what happened, or it was just Mother Nature taking its course?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: You can look at the global warming and stuff. Man might be the blame. We're trashing the place. It's something that's not as much as Mother Nature is trying to fix it. I think we're hurting the place.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How do you feel about the media coverage? Do you think it was adequately portrayed or was sensationalized?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Then, I think it was adequately covered. While I do understand 36:00the stronger than the storm bit, that you need to start getting money flowing back in. I understand priority of seaside and Belmar, the touristy areas to get people coming, because if you don't -- if they're weren't ready by Memorial Day, they weren't open, people might find someplace else to go. Now they have an option and they might go there next year as opposed to coming back here and spending their money here. I understand that. But I don't think it should stop with them. We're going through a big thing right now that FEMA bailed on Union Beach for taking these houses down. The priority stuff got taken care of, and now we're just little old 1-1/2 square mile Union Beach, and we're getting forgotten about.

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, with the whole Stronger Than The Storm thing, they're making it 37:00seem like everything's okay, but with everybody, when in reality it's just the big tourist towns that are okay, and we still need help, like small towns and stuff like that. And people don't realized that when they see those commercials. They're in another state or somewhere else, they think, oh, everybody is back up and running. Everything's good. We don't need to help anymore.


SPEAKER 2: The reality of that is that there is still work to be done. So I think it's a little misleading telling people that we're stronger than the storm when we do still need help.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: My whole thing recently has been my house broke because it's made out of cinder block and it didn't flex like a wood house. My house broke because it was stronger than the storm.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How do you feel about Obama and Christie making their 38:00presence in this area?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: It was nice that Obama came here and took pictures here.

SPEAKER 2: I don't think he did a whole lot other than that though.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I'm not sure anything else other than that happened.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And the governor?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: The governor has been here quite a few times. I actually happen to like the governor. I like the guy's style.

SPEAKER 2: He's great.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I like the way he talks. He doesn't take no crap. I like that. You need somebody like that. Is he perfect? No. Again, he's been in Union Beach a few times, and when the president was here and the governor were here and did the tour, we couldn't get anywhere near them. I don't know if they are aware of the regular people that are having issues.



ANTHONY CAVALLO: I hope that they are and I hope they're not forgetting about us.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Has your opinion of Christie changed since the storm, since he…

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I always liked him. I think I kind of like him a little more, only because we went to a couple of things where he spoke, and the guy says, "This is my mission. This ain't a job, it's a mission." I understand with government and politics that your hands are tied. You can only do so much so fast. He just can't say, "Well, I'm going to go give money and take care of all this." It can't happen. He can't do that. It's politics.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: That's the part that stinks.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How do you feel about the response that you got from the country?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I think very well. I like it. Again, people came together, 40:00and we were getting donations at the church for us to give to other people that were mailed in from North Carolina. I got stuff through a relative. We got stuff from Japan. We got stuff that we don't even know people that they saw a news clip -- we got prom dresses. We got supplies. One of the greatest things that we got was a box of food from -- I forget where the actual state it was from. I think it was up north somewhere. We got a box of food, and all over the cans were messages. "You're not alone. Keep your chin up." It was a beautiful thing, and that actually inspired us when our friend at that Hope Tree 41:00did a drive for Oklahoma. We were collecting all that we collected, a couple of van loads of food and supplies and stuff to go down there. We all had Sharpies and we all wrote on the cans for them. We don't know who they are. We don't know anything, but somebody someplace in Oklahoma was hungry and opened a can of soup and found, "I prayed for you today," on the top of that can of soup, and hopefully it made a difference to them. Because it made a difference to me when somebody sent me a can like that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Has this storm shaped your environmental views?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I definitely -- and we're aware and trying to research more and 42:00trying to educate myself more. When you hear there's something off the coast of Africa, tropical storm, you kind of turn your head and look at the TV. It's important we take care of this place. Recycling wise, environmental wise, yes. Yeah. It made me more conscious.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Now, are there going to be any personal changes? Do you think after the storm, you want to move, or…?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: No. I'll never move. This is my home. This is the house my grandfather built for me, and I'm going to build the house for my grandchildren. One thing that did change is living in a trailer. And you can see how big it 43:00is. It's cozy. I like to say it's so cozy that if you step on my foot again, I'm going to kill you. The three of us are in here, and it's tight.

SPEAKER 2: We make it work.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We make it work and it's not really that bad. We're doing a lot better than other people. One of the things that is going to change in our life is we don't need as much crap as we had. Most people have too much crap, and I was one of the ones that my back porch was a wreck. I can't throw that out. I might need that someday. That was my grandfather's. I can't -- you know. And if I… my wife is actually, "When's the last time you used that? It's got to be fifteen years. Well, it probably don't work no more. You don't need it. I'm going to throw it out and I'm going to have a use for it. I'm going to have to go buy one." I've wanted to clean my back porch off for 44:00twenty-five years, and Sandy did it for me. I'm learning to live in the moment, not the past. And the future. I'm learning to live in the future, for my daughter. We're not going to have as much stuff in the new house. A, we can't afford it, but B, we don't need it. The new house also is going to be geared towards family, entertainment, and God. It's going to be not a place we come home at the end of the night and turn the TV on for an hour and eat dinner and go to bed. This is going to be a place that we're going to enjoy. This is going to be a place that we're going to have friends over on the weekends and we're going to have barbecues and we're going to have…

SPEAKER 2: New Year's Eve parties and Christmas parties and…

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. We're going to enjoy it because…


SPEAKER 2: It's what you're supposed to do.


SPEAKER 2: We've been doing it wrong the whole time.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Tell me some of the problems that you are still facing this day.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Some of the problems we're still facing are the fact that insurance didn't pay us near enough. We didn't have content coverage on our insurance, so the money that we have was going to just barely be enough to rebuild the house. Again, we're the lucky ones. There are people that don't even have enough for that. I'm hoping for grants, the $10,000 resettlement grant and all that. I initially got turned down for that because they said there's no proof that I owned the house in October. I've lived here forty-eight years. The house has been in my name probably for twenty-five. I don't know 46:00the reasoning for that. But I got denied and I filed an appeal, and they told me that they had my stuff and I'm in the process, so who knows.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: The big thing now is the problem is FEMA backed out on us. They were tearing houses down for free in town. They did a hundred and something houses already in town. The problem is, I was on the list. I was called five times to have my house taken down. I couldn't do it because I only had half my insurance money because of the erosion issue that I was running into. I didn't have the faith. I had the faith in God and I should have went with it, but I didn't have the faith in the insurance company that if I took this down, I didn't have enough money. I don't have the money to build a house. 47:00If the insurance company screwed me and I didn't have the second check, I'm going to have to try somehow to repair this and we're going to have to live the best we can in it. So I couldn't tear it down. So now they said the tear-downs are going to -- they took a break for the summer because it's something with FEMA. Now what's going to happen is July, August, they're going to start the tear-downs. And just as they were about to start, FEMA said, we changed the rules. Unless the house is in imminent danger of collapse, we're not paying to take it down. So now the homeowners have to pay. We got volunteers coming in cranes to flatten it, and we have to pay for the dumpsters and the carding, which is where there's…


ANTHONY CAVALLO: Disposing of material is expensive. So now the homeowners have to pay for that, which is bad, and we're trying to do something to get grants to 48:00do fundraisers for it and get in touch with big corporations or rock stars or Oprah or somebody to get us some money to help these people. We have to use insurance money to pay, to have our house taken down, which is more money that's coming out of the new house. Every dollar we spend is something that comes out of the house. We're not getting hardwood, we're not getting marble tile. Now we're getting carpet because of this. We're not getting this. The walls are going to be white now because of this. You've got to keep scaling back and scaling back and scaling back.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. Are you still making payments to your home?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. Nine months I made mortgage payments on a house that we can't live in, which is why I had to buy the trailer. I was smart in the very beginning. We almost had an apartment. We were sitting in the apartment and we signed the paperwork that we were interested in it, and the guy said, "We're going for improval," and all that. He called me back a couple of days later and 49:00I said, "I can't do it. I don't want it." I couldn't rent a house, an apartment for $1,800 a month plus utilities and pay a mortgage. I would have been broke. I would have lost the house. While a couple of months would have been okay, I knew it was going to be a long-term thing, and it wasn't going to be a month we'll be back in the house, or two months, even six months, because we had to sign a six-month lease. So I knew it couldn't work.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: We bought a trailer that we don't have to rent on. We own it. Everybody says, "When this is done, you should take it and put it in Pennsylvania as a weekend house." When we're done with this, I don't ever want to see this thing again. I'll burn it. I never want to see it again. I never 50:00want to sleep in a trailer a day in my life after this.

SPEAKER 2: Never going camping.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: One of the good things was my daughter went to Florida for a couple of weeks and then to Cincinnati to be with my wife's parents, then we drove out together and we stopped on the way out there. And for the first time in nine months, when we stayed in a hotel, me and my wife got into bed that night and we both just smiled and looked at each other. It was the first time we slept in a real bed. And it was just so -- it was amazing. Just at the simple thing of sleeping in a bed. We got a queen-sized bed in our room in the trailer, and my daughter's got…

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, I have a twin.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: She's got two twin beds in her room. Ours is upstairs. In there, that's our bedroom up there, upstairs in the trailer. But it's only a 51:00mattress. There's no box spring, and it's like a camping trailer mattress.

SPEAKER 2: It's not…

ANTHONY CAVALLO: It's a weekend mattress. It's not a nine-month mattress.

SPEAKER 2: It's not good.



TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What are the changes to the outlook of your community compared to prior and then post-Sandy?

SPEAKER 2: I think a lot more positive.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. We call it Union Beach 2.0. Mr. Hope Tree came up with that, and we got shirts and stuff. But it's the -- Union Beach 2.0 is going to be bigger, better, stronger and nicer. It's not only the town that's Union Beach 2.0. That's Union Beach 2.0, my daughter and her children. I try to tell 52:00people we got to do this right because we're writing our children and grandchildren history books. So we got to do this right. People have to learn from this. We're learning some of the mistakes of Katrina; they're going to learn some of the mistakes of Sandy for the next one. But we got to do this right for our kids and grandchildren.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that the storm had an impact on the presidential election?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I don't know. That whole time is a blur. The election was after the storm, right?

SPEAKER 2: That was in November.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: It was November 4th.

SPEAKER 2: The next month.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah, it was the next month.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Maybe a week after.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I don't know.


SPEAKER 2: Many people didn't want to deal with making a decision, so they just voted Obama.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Yeah. But again, that's just local. That's not the other forty-five states that weren't impacted. Again, you always wonder people's intention. Like when he came here or… and photo ops and all that. Is it a photo op, or are you really going to do something for us? It's not what I'm doing; it's what it looks like I'm doing.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think it will have an impact on the governor election?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I think so. I think so. If this guy loses, something's wrong.

SPEAKER 2: Right. He's definitely going to get voted again.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Again, I don't really talk too much politics, but I told my 54:00daughter that the way the politics are going, it's bad. It's real bad the way politics are. I can't tell you the last time I said, "That's a good guy I'd like to vote," for president or for whatever. It was the first time I voted, and it was Ronald Reagan. That was the last time I said, Republican or Democrat, "That's a guy I'd like to lead this country." You know what? Christie, he pisses a lot of people off, but that's the guy I'd like to vote for, depending on who's going to go against him. He seems like a guy that's going to try to streamline and get rid of all the crap. Again I don't care if 55:00he's Republican or Democrat. He even said this isn't about politics; this is about being from New Jersey and taking care of our town.


ANTHONY CAVALLO: That's what you need. Whether you're president, whether you're governor, whether you're the mayor, whether you're whatever, what's right for the town, what's right for my people, what's right for me and my kids as opposed to what's right for my party.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. What's a word of advice that you would give to those in Moore, Oklahoma?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: In Oklahoma? Have hope. Have faith. Know that you're not alone. Know that this isn't the first time somebody's going through this. Moore 2.0 is going to be a beautiful place.


TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What would you say the legacy of the storm is?

ANTHONY CAVALLO: What do you mean?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: The story of the storm.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: The story of the storm?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Legacy it carries.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: I would think good guys win in the end. Hope wins. Hope floats. It sucks right now, but you know what? It's going to be -- it'll be worth it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Anything else you want to tell me that I possibly have missed?


SPEAKER 2: I don't know.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Anything about school, how you dealt with this?

SPEAKER 2: I don't know. My school was really good to us, Red Bank Regional High School


SPEAKER 2: They were great. A lot of my teachers came up to me the first day 57:00back in school, and they were like, "If you ever need anything, let me know. I'm not talking to you as a teacher. I'm talking to you as a person. If you ever need anything, let me know." When Christmas time came around, they took a collection of Christmas gifts for the people of Union Beach. And I think a few months ago, they came into bikes. They gave bikes out. But it was just… they've been really great. It was like ever since the storm, a lot of people got displaced.


SPEAKER 2: They're not in town anymore. And the way it works with that school is you can only go there if you live in Union Beach. When people left and got apartments in Keyport or somewhere else, it was a really big concern whether or 58:00not they'd still be able to go to the school. Red Bank was really helpful with that kind of stuff. They were just saying as long as you can get to school, you can come.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: We want you, because we know you're going to go home someday.

SPEAKER 2: Yeah.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Which is a nice thing. And it's funny. This past Christmas was the first Christmas that I wasn't in this house. It was one of the best Christmases we ever had, because it was about the true meaning. We spent Christmas in the church, and it wasn't about how expensive a gift I can buy you. It was seeing the goodness of other people, strangers that we didn't know giving us Christmas gifts and giving people of Union Beach Christmas gifts. It was truly the spirit of giving, which was a nice thing. You got anything else?


SPEAKER 2: I don't know.

ANTHONY CAVALLO: Of course I know the second you turn that off I'll think of a million things.


SPEAKER 2: Yeah. Unless there's any other questions you have for me.



SPEAKER 2: Yeah.


0:00 - Interview introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August 20th and I am in Union Beach.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Anthony Cavallo.



0:07 - Brief Biography

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Can you state your name?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo describes his neighborhood and the school systems and economics there. He even talks about his favorite part of living in New Jersey which is being close to the water.

Keywords: After the storm; Church; Community; Daughters; Economic; Ethnicity; Family; Food; Home; Hope Tree; House; Houses; Hurricane Sandy; Income; Job; Lived; Living; Long Beach Island; Neighborhood; New Jersey; New York; Occupation; Rooms; Salary; School; Schools; Shore; Storm; Town; Union Beach; Water; Work


GPS: Faith Chapel (Union Beach, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 25.858293, -81.385454

4:19 - First thoughts of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Can you tell me about when you first heard the storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo talks about having a good friend, Mr. Wells, warn him to leave before the storm. He also talks about how his expectations of not getting much water and not having a "long-term evacuation".

Keywords: After the storm; Cats; Church; Dining room; Evacuation; Family; Floors; Home; House; Night; Power; Prepare; Storm; Water


7:29 - Adequate warning / day of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Do you believe that there was adequate warning in your area?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo speaks about barely being able to communicate with others with the bad cellphone service. Facebook was the most effective source of contact. Other than the winds, Cavallo and his family did not seem to be too alarmed by Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Area; AT&T; Cell phones; Contact; Daughters; Emergency; Evacuate; Facebook; Faith Chapel; Family; Hope Tree; House; Hurricane; Information; Internet; Message; Morning; News; Office of Emergency Management (OEM); Power; Sleep; Storm; T-Mobile; Town; TV; Union Avenue; Union Beach; Water; Winds


GPS: Union Avenue (Union Beach, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.443236, -74.165685

10:11 - Day after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What was going through your head when you woke up the next day?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo discusses walking out into the neighborhood after the storm hit. He also talks about how his house, which he thought would never get water, was in fact affected by the storm.

Keywords: Brooke Avenue; Church; Cops; Daughters; Debris; Destroyed; Devastating; Doors; Faith Chapel; Gas; Gone; House; Houses; Morning; Normal; Street; Water


GPS: Brooke Avenue (Union Beach, Nj,)
Map Coordinates: 40.447335, -74.164204

13:16 - Mood of the community / support

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Can you describe the mood of the community?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo discusses how he told his wife and daughter about the destruction caused to their house. He also mentioned that of all types of support, FEMA made a quick response.

Keywords: Adjuster; Church; Come together; Community; Daughters; Destruction; Devastation; FEMA; Flood; Food; House; Insurance companies; Internet; Mood; New Jersey; Office; Phone; Renting; Response; Service; Shock; Supplies; Support; Thanksgiving; TV


17:16 - Curfews / coping with the aftermath of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Did the community have any protocols or curfews?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo discusses having a friend in a different town which had hot water and a generator, yet Cavallo and his family did not have gas to get there. He also said that the gas lines near him took almost three hours to get a gas supply that can barely get anyone by.

Keywords: Beach; Cell phones; Church; Clean; Community; Cope; Curfews; Daughters; Donation; Emergency; Food; Gas; Gas lines; Generators; Heat; House; Job; Kids; Night; Protocol; Salvaging; Service; Shelters; Street; Town; Tree; Water


GPS: Tinton Falls, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.304108, -74.098523

21:11 - Safety / aid received

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Right. Did you feel safe during everything that was going on?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo describes how safe and secure he felt after the storm. He also talks about the plethora of aid received from FEMA especially and the lack of aid from the government. Most of the support was received from the town and the townspeople.

Keywords: Aid; Church; Cleanup; Community; Couches; Doors; FEMA; Floors; Government aid; Help; Helped; House; Information; Job; Looters; Mennonite; National Guard; Neighborhood; Office; Police; Red Cross; Safe; Salvation Army; School; Support; Town


26:40 - Community contributions

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Can you tell me any other ways that you contributed to the community during this time?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo described the abundance of hope in the people of his town while they were trying to make it through this rough patch. He also talks about this prom dress event at his church which gave dresses to those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: Area; Church; Community; Contributors; Daughters; Doors; Food; Gas; Help; Helping; Hope; Hope Tree; Support; Union Beach


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.446452, -74.178538

30:40 - Local and federal government aid

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. How do you feel about the response that you did receive, both through the local government and through the federal government?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo talks about how the local government and people were more helpful than the federal government. He states that it was very hard to find things to eat being that restaurants were not open and running.

Keywords: Adjuster; Beach; Churches; Cook; Evacuate; federal government; Flood insurance; Floors; Food; Helping; House; Local government; Meals; Neighbors; Power; Response; Town; Water


33:18 - Adequate preparation

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:That's okay. Do you think that New Jersey prepared adequately by having enough dunes raised and then requiring the houses to be raised?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo believes that global warming was the cause of the superstorm Sandy. He still feels there needs to be a lot more work done to get things back in order in Union Beach

Keywords: Belmar; Coverage; Dunes; federal government; FEMA; Flood; Global warming; House; Houses; Hurricane Sandy; Media; Money; Mother Nature; New Jersey; Prepared adequately; Seaside Heights; Sensationalized; State; Storm; Town; Union Beach


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.446452, -74.178538

37:54 - President and governor appearance

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How do you feel about Obama and Christie making their presence in this area?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo describes his feelings on the governor and president. Also, he talks about the generous help from the rest of the country and even overseas.

Keywords: Area; Christie; Church; Country; Donation; Food; Governor; Hope Tree; Message; Money; Obama; Oklahoma; Politics; President; Response; State; Storm; Union Beach


42:33 - Personal changes

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Now, are there going to be any personal changes? Do you think after the storm, you want to move, or ...?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo talks about never wanting to move and leave the house his grandfather built for him. He also discusses how he believes that he has been "doing it all wrong" and believes in having the essentials, family, and God.

Keywords: After the storm; Changed; Clean; Daughters; Dinner; Home; House; Hurricane Sandy; Moved; Night; TV; Work


45:07 - Ongoing problems faced

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Tell me some of the problems that you are still facing this day.

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo talks about the mishaps with FEMA and the tearing down of his house. He also talks about the trailer he bought instead of renting a house after the storm.

Keywords: Apartment; Bedrooms; Cincinnati; Coverage; Daughters; FEMA; Florida; Fundraisers; Help; Hotels; House; Houses; Insurance; Insurance companies; Money; Mortgage; Night; Pennsylvania; Rebuild; Renting; Torn down; Town; Volunteers


51:18 - Changed outlook / impact on election

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What are the changes to the outlook of your community compared to prior and them post-Sandy?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo discusses his more positive outlook on the world and his hope for better days. He also tells about his opinion of the impact of the storm on the presidential election.

Keywords: After the storm; Changed; Children; Christie; Country; Daughters; Election; Governor; Hope Tree; Hurricane Katrina; Hurricane Sandy; Kids; Mayor; New Jersey; Obama; Outlook; Politics; President; Presidential campaign; Republicans; Town; Union Beach; Vote


55:30 - Legacy of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Right. What's a word of advice that you would give to those in Moore, Oklahoma?

Segment Synopsis: Cavallo tells that his message of the storm for Moore, Oklahoma is to have faith and know they are not alone. His daughter also spoke about how helpful her high school was after the storm.

Keywords: Apartment; Faith; Home; Hope; Keyport Red Bank; Legacy; Moore, Oklahoma; Oklahoma; School; Storm; Town; Union Beach


GPS: Red Bank Regional High School (Little Silver, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.349823, -74.038509
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