0:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August twenty-sixth. Can you state your name?

CHERYL MARA: Cheryl Mara.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and how old you are, if you don't mind?

CHERYL MARA: Forty-three.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: And for the audience, can you tell me your ethnicity?

CHERYL MARA: White.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How long have you lived in this home?

CHERYL MARA: Ten years.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: And do you mind sharing the cost of the house when you purchased it?

CHERYL MARA: $161,000

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: And how many rooms are in this house?

CHERYL MARA: There's three bedrooms, there's a den, living room, dining room, kitchen, so maybe eight?

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and is there a specific reason why you chose this house?

CHERYL MARA: Well, I like the area. I like that it had two steps coming in and out [Both laugh] because I do suffer some medical issues, so eventually I'm going to need to have lower steps, but now it's not that case anymore. But I still love the house, I love the area, so I'll deal with it. I'll figure it out.

1:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, how long have you lived in this neighborhood?

CHERYL MARA: Ten years.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and where did you live before?

CHERYL MARA: In Wall, in rural New Jersey.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and can you tell me about your family, who makes up [unclear] and who lives here with you?

CHERYL MARA: Yeah, it's me, my daughter who's twenty-three, and my granddaughter who's gonna be two.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so what's your occupation?

CHERYL MARA: I am a registered marketing associate and assistant vice president for Morgan Stanley.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and how long have you been doing that?

CHERYL MARA: Twenty years.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you mind sharing your salary or your income bracket?

CHERYL MARA: I'd rather not do that.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and what do you like about living in New Jersey?

CHERYL MARA: Well, I like the beaches, I like the season, and I do like that you can get anywhere you want pretty quick, up and down the entire state of New Jersey, so the convenience.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so would you say it's the water that attracted you to this area?

2:00

CHERYL MARA: I was born and raised in the area. Born and raised in Wall.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so, tell me about the community and the neighborhood in which you live.

CHERYL MARA: Well, I've been here, like I said, the ten years, and when I moved in here, I'm shy so I don't really know and I won't go out, but I wound up getting involved in a charitable organization to start to know some of the parents that my daughter would be hanging out with, and started meeting some of the neighbors, and it just, it feels like family. A lot of us are very close and even with the storm, we were in and out of people's houses, you know, showering here, eating over there, chit-chatter over there, so we were back and forth. This became a very close-knit, and I enjoy it. You know, I work with the kids in the area through the school, my volunteer projects, and I really just like the people.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Are there- is there anything that you'd like to tell 3:00me concerning the schools and the economics of the community

CHERYL MARA: Well, after the storm, obviously it's tough because so many people lost everything. They lost jobs as well as homes. They're not even back in the town. Some are not coming back. So, people are suffering right now.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: The school systems are struggling with the kids, they want to be in their school. They want to be in their town. So, you know, hopefully it'll come back, but right now everything is a struggle.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so when did you first hear the storm was coming?

CHERYL MARA: About a week before is when I really focused in on it. You know, I mean I had seen the reports that it was coming up, but as you started seeing it hit the other areas, you realized that this could hit us. So, about a week, I guess I was really watching it.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and what were your first thoughts? What did you expect?

CHERYL MARA: Well, like every other storm, hype. I thought it was all hype. In 4:00fact, the day before, I joked. I kept saying, I told my boss I was working from home because I knew I was going to be evacuated. Which, I didn't go, because the water's never come to my property, ever. In the backyard, I've had it come up, but not to the house. You know, I joked about it. I said, "worst case scenario, we'll take the animals, we'll take the kids, and we'll go up in the attic." And sure enough, we ended up in the attic. It was a little scary, but it was- I don't know, you don't believe them because they hype it so much.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

CHERYL MARA: You know, so you kind of just- we all did. We all stuck it out. Most of us did on the block. I think the neighbors next door were the only ones that actually left. So, it was hard, but…

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: How did you prepare?

CHERYL MARA: Well, you batten down the hatches. You put everything up. You lock everything down. Like I said, I didn't get too crazy in the garage because I didn't believe it was really coming. You know, we taped the windows, as you can 5:00still see. There's tape on the window. Everything was taped. Everything was locked up. We made sure all the windows were secure, even sticking sticks underneath the bottoms just to make sure nothing could fall, or whatever. Just, extra precautionary. You know, lock the things, put everything away that we could. It was- you know, become a flying object, and we hunkered down .We had food, water in the house, flashlight, batteries-

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you go to the stores to try to get any extra supplies?

CHERYL MARA: I didn't because I generally have it in anyway.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: So, I really didn't need it, and I wasn't expecting for as long as it went out, that we couldn't go. Good thing, though, Target was up the next day so we were able to get into Target and get what we didn't have.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you think that there was adequate warning?

CHERYL MARA: I think there were adequate warnings. The problem with the warnings, is like I said before, they've sent them before and nothing's come up.

6:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

CHERYL MARA: So, you can send the warnings, but if you're not serious about them, people aren't abiding by them.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Did you- so, you didn't evacuate, though?

CHERYL MARA: I didn't. I was told to but we did not. We wound up getting evacuated that night.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: By boat.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Oh.

CHERYL MARA: Yes, the boat actually came right into the house.

[whispering, both laugh.]

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Take me through the day of the storm. Where were you, what was the first sights of storm, weather conditions?

CHERYL MARA: Well, I was here working in the back. I was in the den. And my daughter and granddaughter were here in the living room. They were watching TV. I was on the computer, doing work for work, and I kept getting Facebook pops, showing me pictures of Keyport, and I'm getting texts showing me pictures of Keyport and Union Beach, with the waters already pouring over, and I had taken a drive early in the morning before they stopped me from using the roads, and it 7:00was already over, you know, coming into the streets at that point, which was, like eight in the morning.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, was this Sunday or Monday?

CHERYL MARA: This was Monday morning.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Oh, okay.

CHERYL MARA: Yeah, Monday morning. Sunday, I know that the Keyport had started already by Sunday.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: We had gotten the texts that they, I think the restaurant called Yesterday's was already under water at that point. So, we did that. I worked up until the power went out, and my daughter and I were in here playing a dice game on the couch while the baby was sleeping in her crib. Lights went down. No, we were told that the power was going out by six. They were gonna shut it down precautionary. Well, by five-something, we had no power and then I heard- you know, I had the front door open. There was a screen door there at that time. It's not, obviously, now. And I heard somebody screaming for help. And I had no water in front of my house, nothing, and she was waist- neck-high, I should say, 8:00chest high, in water at the end of the block, down here. So, I'm yelling to her to come up but she can't hear me, or she's not responding, so I turned around from that door, came back here to grab my cell phone, which was on the couch. By the time I got back, the water was coming in. Came up so fast and so quick. The water wasn't even in front of my neighbor's house at that point, but it came in with a fury, and that's when everybody to the attic. I took the baby- we woke the baby up, got her up there. The cats went up there. My daughter got her dogs. Ran up into the attic. I couldn't tell you how long it was. When I got up there, I realized there's no way out. We were trapped up there. If the water came in and stayed in and came up, we were trapped. Very scary at that point.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: I can imagine.

CHERYL MARA: Yeah, and I usually don't freak out, but I lost it up there [laughs] when I realized that- and it turned out it was a foot and a half of water in the house, so it really wasn't as bad, but as fast as it came in, we 9:00still had another storm- another high tide to come in, so we still had no idea if the water was coming in, if it was coming up higher and higher. Yeah, so we obviously called for help. They came that night. It was after eleven when they got here. I have no idea what time it was-

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Who did you call?

CHERYL MARA: I called the police department, and they were sending the boats, but they were getting the people who were down by the ocean and who were sitting on their roofs and getting thrown in the water at that point, before they were coming here. And obviously, I was fine with that, and then when I realized the water started to go down, then I was feeling foolish that I had called for help, but you know, I still had my granddaughter up there and my daughter. I wasn't worried as much about me, and the animals could stay up there, but I wanted them out, and my daughter wouldn't go without me. So we wound up leaving the animals in the attic and just shutting the door, and left them in their crate because we knew the water wasn't going to get in the attic, but at least they were safe. 10:00And we left. They pulled us out of here in a boat. It was, I don't know, eleven, eleven thirty at night. I have no idea what time we went up. I know it was a little after five when the power went down. So, then, half hour, hour maybe? I don't know. It was definitely- it was definitely freaky, watching it come in.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow.

CHERYL MARA: And it came in fast. Like I said, you could see the distance from that door to this wall. It's not that far.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

CHERYL MARA: Maybe about four or five steps. You turn around and go back those same four or five steps and the water's coming in the house. It just- it came from- two creeks overflowed and they merged, and that's what happened here. We didn't even have ocean water. It was creeks.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. When they evacuated you with the boat, where did you go?

CHERYL MARA: To the town hall, to the police station.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Did you get to sleep that night at all?

CHERYL MARA: No. We wound up- my car, we had moved both cars up to Bradley's 11:00parking lot, so once they got us out of here, we got the okay that we could leave, we were able to walk up there and go to our neighbor's in-laws.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: So, that's where they went, and I had called them, you know, in my panic, saying goodbye that night, when I was in the attic, and I said, "I'm coming, can I come?" She's like, "just come." So by the time we got there, we were all out of it, chatting and talking, and we watched the sun come up, and we came back here.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. To your house?

CHERYL MARA: To our houses, yeah.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, what was going through your head when you came back?

CHERYL MARA: Well, I knew what to expect from what I had seen when I left, so I knew that it was damaged in here. You know, we were [unclear] to the top of my walls in some of the rooms are redone, but they were being redone before the storm. I had just put brand new hardwood floor down. It had to come up. Yeah, so 12:00we were already expecting everything. We did lose the majority of everything. There's very little left. Which is, you know, it is what it is. This is life, unfortunately. We live by the shore, and we're gonna get hit. I'm up now, so I should never have that problem, but I came back in here, I guess I knew what I saw when I left, and I don't think- I think I was still in shock. I don't think I even noticed. I just started bagging it and getting it out, bagging it and getting it out, because we had the baby with us, we had to get this out. I'm an asthmatic, can't be in here with the mold and all that, so that was the first thought -- get it out, just get it out. So, that was kind of what we were- I don't think there was thought process. It was just "move."

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, can you describe the scene, the mood of the community?

13:00

CHERYL MARA: Oh, it was just, it was hard. People didn't know what to do anymore. They lost- like I said, people lost their homes. They lost everything. I mean, there were people's roofs blocks over. We had no idea whose roof it was in people's yards. You had sheds, you had cars, you had- I mean, I had belongings that, I mean, I'm still trying to find out. There's a cherub sitting in my tree out there because I have no idea who it belongs to. I'm trying to return it to that person, but. I sit it out there every day so someone could come by and claim it and nobody knows whose it is. It survived the storm, you know, may be their only belonging left and I'd hate to get rid of it. And that's what people's thoughts were. You know, the people who were allowed after we came in and saw our homes. Obviously, we all met outside, and your hugging and sighs and whatever, and you're back in your home. And I can tell you, to this day, 14:00I've taken a few drives when I need a dose of reality. When I get down about this house, when I'm looking at- and I drive along the ocean where these people have nothing. Their homes are gone, like, literally are gone. You know, those people, it's tough. You hear the horror stories everywhere. I thank god every day I still have my four walls so I can raise this house and continue to move on. I have so many people I know that have- don't have that, aren't that lucky, or haven't had the insurance. They have no money to re-do.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, your cell phone was still working?

CHERYL MARA: My cell phone never stopped working.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's good. What company did you have?

CHERYL MARA: I have Verizon.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so once you took all the stuff out, did you stay here?

CHERYL MARA: I stayed in this house the entire time. The only time I left was about two months ago, when they lifted the house. In June, I left, and I came 15:00back- I've only been back two weeks, because they took my water away. They took all the plumbing out in order to lift the house, so I can't stay here with no plumbing. But I've lived here with no floors, you know, a couple of boards thrown here and there. Obviously, my daughter and my granddaughter, you see, they're not here now and they haven't been back.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: Hopefully, they're coming back this week, but obviously you can see what they're coming back to. It's not healthy. But she's out of options at this point of where to stay, so she has to come back. And it's- I don't know, it's gonna be trying to work with all that.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: How long before power was-?

CHERYL MARA: In this house or on the street?

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Before power came back.

CHERYL MARA: It came back sometime in late December, we got some power. Yes, we were out six or eight weeks, I think. It was a long time, we were out.

16:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Your home or the block?

CHERYL MARA: The whole block. We were out for a long time. By the time the power came back in, we had my- all my electric was underneath the house, so it all had to be ripped out. My electrician came in and shut down the box, putting three brand new- the box didn't get wet, just the power lines, so he cut everything, gave me three outlet to work with. I had construction lights. Thankfully you can see, I'm open. We ran construction lights through every room, all throughout the house. I had construction lights in here until April.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow.

CHERYL MARA: I had no power in the house except those three outlets. We were running power tools and that, and the lights. And I finally got floors. I finally got heat December seventeenth, and we got the power back in April. Full power.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, how did you eat and stuff?

CHERYL MARA: Out. I go to the diner. They know me well. I walk in there every 17:00day. Everyday. I got three servers there that know me well.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: How long before stores around the area were open?

CHERYL MARA: Well, like I said, Target opened up the first day. It took, I don't know, maybe a week to get them up, by the time they got- maybe a week, a week or two. Because they started getting generators hooked up and people started being able to use- not everything. The gas stations, they were down. I don't remember how long because I, thankfully, had filled by tank the day before the storm so I didn't have to worry about it because I didn't know when I would get out again, so I just figured I'd just store it, I'll get it full because if the storm came in, I figured I was going to get trapped in the house.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Was the wait for that time long?

CHERYL MARA: For the gas?

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yes.

CHERYL MARA: It was, yes, my neighbor was running- she had a generator going and she was running, her and her husband were standing in lines just trying to get 18:00some gas, and they could go for hours. They could leave here seven in the morning, not get back until two, three in the afternoon. And they were local, but not everybody had them, because there were very few gas stations, at that point, open.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Who did you look to for support, for help? Did you contact FEMA and your insurance companies?

CHERYL MARA: I contacted FEMA first, immediately, because everyone kept saying you gotta get a FEMA on the phone, get them on the phone. They I finally got ahold of my- I couldn't get through to my insurance company. Phones were always busy. I finally go through and got them going. FEMA showed up first, but the insurance company showed up probably around Thanksgiving. I was lucky to get FEMA out here pretty quick. My insurance company, not too long after that.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Who did you work closely with, when it came down to 19:00your house?

CHERYL MARA: As far as agencies, or as far as--?

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Agencies and getting it together.

CHERYL MARA: Well, the agencies was, like I said, the only ones that I actually had was FEMA. They had some supplies at borough hall, they had opened up an area there. So, I was back and forth with there. But I'm fortunate enough to still have my job. I'm fortunate enough to have more money than some of the other people in the area. Not that I have a lot of money, because I have no savings or nothing, but I was still making enough money, and I didn't want to take from others who had lost both jobs and homes. I only took bare minimums from them -- water, paper towels, toilet paper, maybe, stuff I couldn't get. You know, so then I did that, and then basically, my friends came around. I have tremendous, tremendous friends. Came in here and, I mean, one day I think I had eight people 20:00here besides myself. People just, they came in here and they helped me clear it out. There were piles -- I think they took six piles, huge piles, from my house, of trash. People came in and that's really who I leaned on. My brother finally got out- he's in Keansburg. He finally got out of his house. He was trapped in the house because the water wouldn't go down, for two days. And then he got over here and he started with it as well. We just kept in. My sister and my brother-in-law came in from Nebraska for a week, around Thanksgiving, with the kids. Everybody, even the little guy, seven-year-old, everybody pitched in and we were just moving forward, trying to- by that point, we had finally gotten everything out, and then it was a matter of trying to rebuild.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. How did you cope?

CHERYL MARA: I think at first it was not about coping. I think it was more about the shock that you were in and you just- I mean, trust me, we all had our tears. 21:00We all went through the stories and, you know, how could this happen to me? Why? Out of all the houses on the block? The guy next door who sits on the ground and me are the only two, besides the one on the corner who gets caught every time, who actually had water in the homes. Everybody else lost things in their basements. I never had water. He's definitely never had water. She always gets the water. But we always looked at it, and you get to that point where, "why did we get this? I don't understand." You know, so you kind of go through that process. You get angry because they should have fixed the creek, which they never did. To this day, they still haven't fixed the creek. They still haven't even cleaned them out yet. The storms are here, and they still haven't cleaned them out yet. There's still kids toys, and god only knows what's back there now, because it's so overgrown you can't see in it, either. So, but they haven't been back to touch them. They've been so busy everywhere else. The creeks haven't been touched, so god help us if another storm comes in, because the same thing's 22:00gonna happen. I won't be affected. The garage, maybe, but not me, but others will be, and it's, you know, it'll be sad to see that happen yet again. But, you know, you talk to your friends, my family. You know, my boss went through the same thing. He's down in Rumson on the water. Same deal, lost everything on the first floor. And you just, I don't know, I just look at it as this is life. We get curve balls every day. We can either sit and cry or we can pull our pants up, get our hands dirty, and move along, rebuild a life. I mean, obviously, at some point you're gonna get to a point where you're done with this, but this is life right now. This is what we have. And you're gonna have to move on. So, I'm just gonna roll up my sleeves and get dirty. Let's go.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: So how did your community cope?

CHERYL MARA: There's a lot of different things. There's still people not coping 23:00at all. You know, they're still walking around with anger and- towards the community, not toward the community but towards the services that were not done, towards the insurance companies that won't helped them, people that have foundations that have cracked, that due to the fact that the earth moved and cracked their foundation, the insurance companies won't pay, so they're angry. You still have that. You still see that in the papers today, you know, ten months later and you're still seeing all this. So, I think they did have counseling, free counseling up at the borough hall, so I know people took advantage of that, and they opened up another one up in the corner store there. There's a little corner- used to be a daycare center. It's a little store now, and they just kind of opened it up in there, go get some goods and counseling. 24:00You know, people were definitely feeling- there's lines out there was still, even in January, February time frame. So, the school's down, but I still think you have- you know, the kids didn't get back to school, they didn't come back to their school until- I think the last week of school, they moved them back in because they wanted to graduate from their school. I don't know why they were moving back in. I don't know why they didn't just have them come walk but they insisted that they get them back in. So, I think the community this year will be a little better because they are going to be back in their school, and, you know, for the most part people are moving along. You see a lot of construction going on. But, like I said, people like me, who didn't get the insurance money- I mean, I got it, but the contracts laughed and said, "which room do you want done?" with the amount of insurance I got, because my house was so old. Everything in it was old, which is why I was updating before the storm, and they 25:00give the 1958 floors. That's what was in this house. What do you think they're worth? Zero. That's what they're giving you. My electric cost $6,600. Know what they gave me? $1,300. Gas was $8,500. They gave me $1,100 to fix it. That's what I'm saying. People are not coping. I think at this point, they're just so angry. You know, I'm over it at this point. The anger doesn't do me any good. None of it's gonna do me any good. I just have to move on, and then once I'm done, I can deal with what I need to deal with to prevent it for the next time. Within the county, I mean, within the county and within the city. I can go to them about the creeks and I can fight all that stuff. But right now, I'm going to get back into a livable situation. My house is not [unclear] yet. You can see, there's 26:00still cracks on these floors from the lifts. Everything's pulled apart, so I've gotta get insulation in there. I've gotta close everything. The crawl space is still open down there. There's no door on it. I've got stuff to do. As you can see, you saw the steps as we came up, the temporary steps. I can't get through the winter with those. So, people are not coping. I think people are just, still, ten months later, still trying to resolve the issues. They're angry, and they think the anger has to go to go, but it can't, because they're not getting what they need. [unclear]

[Ambient noise, laughter]

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: How was the response of the police during the time?

CHERYL MARA: Amazing. They were amazing. The police, the first aid, the fire, 27:00from both Keyport, Union Beach, Hazlet. I mean, we had police up here from Idaho. Everybody was absolutely amazing. We had the National Guard up here, down at the oceanfront, four blocks in. Wouldn't let anyone near it. They were absolutely amazing, I have to say. In all my darkness, all the time I was here, I sent my daughter to her father's house, my ex-husband's house with one of the dogs. She left me two dogs here, which I didn't want. I kept saying, "get rid of these dogs, I don't have time. I can't take care of these dogs, I got enough to do." But once the house settled down at night and the pitch darkness came and you're hearing these stories of people coming in and robbing homes, I was so happy to have them. No one came hear this house. No one. Not with the dogs. So, fortunately, they were in their crates. They've lived in these crates. As you can see, they're not here anymore, but they were living in these crates just because it wasn't safe. And I had open floors. Literally, you could see the 28:00crawl space. So, they were amazing. You called them for anything, they were right there. And when you walked into town hall, nobody was short with you. "What can I do for you? How can I help you?" They were right here. They passed here every day. I'd get a hello, they'd wave to me, check in on me. I can't say enough about them. Fire departments opened up. They had the big clothing and whatever stuff they had donated, opened up at Union Beach in the firehouse there. You walked in there. I mean, they had volunteers, the firemen themselves, everybody. It was amazing, absolutely amazing what they were able to do, and how calm they stayed. You know, when you think about it, at that point, having everybody at me, I think eventually your nerves are gonna get worn. No snapping, no nothing, just "how can I help you today?" So, they were amazing. I can't say 29:00enough about them. Even the ones from Idaho.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you tell me about the aid that you received on both the governmental and the community level?

CHERYL MARA: The community level, we got- a few charity organizations came through, and I didn't take as much advantage of those. Like I said, there were others that were less fortunate than I, so we needed to know that those people were going to get what they needed, and if I took it, they couldn't have it. So I really tried to stay away. But when they did the gift certificates or when they did the bigger stuff, that everyone was entitled to, including them, then I would definitely take part. And they were amazing. The Tzu Chi Foundation came in here, gave everybody lots of gift cards and certain dollars worth of gift cards.

30:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: What kind of foundation?

CHERYL MARA: It's called Tzu Chi. T-Z-U-C-H-I.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: Yep. And they came in here, amazing group of people over at the school. Blankets and stuff in a goody bag for us, flashlights, plus that, and they gave us a video, and they showed us the video of what they do and how they help out all over the country. So, it was a nice way for them to do it, and as soon as I can give back, I would love to be able to help out all these foundations who helped out. The church, I just got it hanging on my door over there. Another church came in here and handed me another gift card, a $100 gift card towards Home Depot, just Saturday, I think it was, I got that. Yeah, out of the blue, just knocked on the door. It was a pleasant surprise. And that was a Trinity Church in the area. So, churches came in and all that. They were doing hot foods and all that. As far as the government, they handled the garbage, 31:00which was great, in the area. But obviously, when you reach-- they're responsible, in the need, for that. But I didn't get any help from them as far as FEMA or whatever. They said I had insurance and it wasn't qualified for their help. So, I didn't get any of that. I did get- my firm, Morgan Stanley, gave us a grant, which was nice, for clothing, to help us out. So, we were able to get that. And then we had- we've had a couple other grants that have been offered. I haven't qualified for all of them but I'm waiting to hear on a few others, so we'll see what happens. As far as the government's concerned, you know, they're always slower to come through than the charities are, so the community outreach was amazing. That was really good.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How did you contribute, if you did? Did you contribute?

CHERYL MARA: In the beginning, I have not contributed to anything because, 32:00obviously, my house was destroyed, and I literally gutted this out to the floorboards, to the joists. So, for the first few months, I never even left my house. I was just here, I'd go to work, and come back. And as far as contributing now, I'm starting to now get back involved. I was supposed to volunteer with Habitat the following weekend and never got to do it, obviously. Finally getting back into the Carter Project. I'm getting out there where I can. You know, I've helped out a few neighbors, who needed some rides here and there. Done that throughout the whole storm. Obviously, my neighbors, they were coming here to shower the whole time. So I've helped out, if you want to call it that, in that respect. You know, but I was not in the position to do what I would love to have done, which was to go to the other houses and just help them get done. I 33:00still hope- I'm hoping no one else is in need, but you never know. If they still are, I will be there to help them out as well, you know, because I know what it was like to go through this.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, how do you feel about, overall, all the aid that you did receive?

CHERYL MARA: My feeling is that overall, aid is fine. It was helpful. There was people there, community, neighbors, churches, charitable groups were great. As far as the government's concerned, like I said, I didn't see much from them. It's hard to deal with them. They're not the friendliest people. They are snippy. And yes, they've been through a lot, just like the rest of us have, but this- they shouldn't have been as snippy as they were. They weren't quick to come to your aid, although FEMA did come out quickly, but rejected me just as 34:00fast. So, that was bad. I think the aid- I think we've gotten a lot of aid in here, gotten a lot of help. The problem was, I don't know that people knew about it, how much of it was here. I still don't know a lot of it. I mean, there were things going on around the holidays. I was finding out because a neighbor called me up, "did you do this? Did you go pick up that? Did you see this?" "What are you talking about?" [noise in background] --even in the community. If there wasn't someone knocking, you didn't hear about it. And you know, not having power here. To this day, there's still no cable, there's no TV, there's no radio in the house.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

CHERYL MARA: Nothing, still ten months later. Facebook. That's what I have, on my phone. I hated the iPhone, and I was so glad that I had it after the storm, because that is the only place I could keep up. I could get online to go see the news stories, and that's how I still see them, is through my iPhone.

35:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you think that New Jersey prepared adequately for what was coming? Do you think they had enough dunes raised, enough dams and everything?

CHERYL MARA: No. Definitely not. I think that there's a lot of prevention that they should have done, could have done. I know the towns didn't have the money to do it. They raised taxes for every other thing. Not that I'm asking them to raise taxes for these, but the money should have been there to help, because some of this- I mean, if they had done what they were supposed to do with these creeks, I wouldn't have had water in the house. Definitely in the crawl, I think, but we wouldn't have had it in the house. But because of the beaver, they weren't enclosing those creeks the way they were supposed to. And that beaver- I'm sure that beaver didn't survive the storm. I can't imagine it did. And now, our homes are gone, our homes are destroyed, because of stuff like that. So, 36:00they definitely did not take the precautions they need. Still, to this day, I know they are. They're working on it. That I do know. And everything that was supposed to happen is going to happen over the next five years, but that doesn't protect us from now until then. So, now I think they need to do other things. But again, all this hype about these storms that never come, you know, I don't think they took it any more serious than the rest of us did, which is really sad.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Is there anything that they could have done differently?

CHERYL MARA: I don't know, because, like I said, I don't listen to- they haven't done what they could. Without the funds, it's kind of hard to do it. They should have done it. The creek should have been dealt with. The creek was never cleaned out to begin with. There were things in that creek that shouldn't have been there, which would have helped keep some of the water down, but not all of it, 37:00because once everything started floating, it was going no matter what. But in the beginning of the storm, when the water started to rise, that could have handled some of that. It wouldn't have been as bad as it was. Like I said, I still think I would have had water in the crawl, because that water- we had almost six feet of water out there, you know, which is basically almost the height of this house right now, off the ground.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

CHERYL MARA: So, it was a lot of water out there. So, you were gonna get hit, but they could have definitely dome some things differently. Up at the beachfront, they could have done something more than they did. There's very little beach there to begin with. They could have definitely worked and done something. They have these little inflatable- I forget exactly what they're called. I've been doing a lot of research since the storm, obviously, but they could have put them right along the boards, under the sand, and the minute the water comes in, they inflate and push the water back, to help keep it back. It 38:00would have kept it back a little longer than it did. There's things they could have done. Yes, that costs some money, but it's not a lot of upkeep. It's really not. You know, there's different things they could have done, I think, that they didn't do. And I just didn't do enough research on the town. Believe me, I'll be doing it after, but I'll make my house livable first. And then I will be bringing it to the town. And I'll be looking for change. You know, but right now, I gotta live, and I can't live like this. Ten months of this- I can't make stuff. You still don't eat in the house. You sleep here, you shower here, that's about it. Everything else is just work, work, work, work, work. To this day, I'm still at the diner, to eat. So, once that's done, I will be addressing those issues with the township.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you think anyone, in particular, is to blame, or is 39:00it more just a freak occurrence?

CHERYL MARA: No, I don't think anyone's to blame, other than, like I said, them not having the areas prepped properly. No one's to blame. This is a storm. You can't control Mother Nature. She's gonna do what she wants. The only thing that I don't like is that so much hype comes down from the news media.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's my next question.

CHERYL MARA: Yes, the news media is ridiculous in the way they present these storms. Anything that sells, anything that's gonna make you turn on that TV to watch them. And it's not proper. They shouldn't be doing it like this [unclear -- ambient noise]. So, like I said, we all stayed. I mean, I don't know how the guy next door who was sitting on the ground, how they didn't drown in their house, because our water was so high. I mean, obviously they must have been on the top floor, but it still doesn't matter. The house, it can't really stay 40:00standing. You know, he lost a lot of his foundation underneath the house. It was washed away. But I think the media has gotta change the way they present these storms, when the storms are coming. And they need to be real about it. None of this nonsense about "oh, it's coming, it's coming," and you get nothing. And I understand they're looking at different meteorology tools and utensils and whatever you want to call them. But, you know a little more than you're giving, and all you're doing is hyping it up, and then everyone else hypes it up, and then people stop believing you, like we did. So many people did not believe the storm was coming. Like I said, there were people trapped and jumping off their roofs into the water because they're gonna be washed away. It shouldn't be like that. If we knew the storm was coming the way it was coming, those people wouldn't have been in their homes. I can't honestly say I would have left mine, 41:00because even the firemen and people who have been here for years said the same thing, they would have never left their house. But I didn't take it seriously, because the media hypes it up too much.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think the media, after the storm, it was adequately portrayed, or it was more so sensationalized?

CHERYL MARA: Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question, because I had none.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

CHERYL MARA: That's alright. I had no media except for what was on Facebook, and that's really simple posts. It wasn't more- you know, I mean, I had channel news four on my phone, but I'm not getting those stories. I'm not seeing them. They're just giving you headlines, you know, what's happening over in [unclear]. I wasn't getting the stories, so I wasn't even seeing them. I have no idea. I would have people call me up and say, "oh my gosh, all these things I'm seeing on Union Beach, are you okay?" I'm like, "what are you talking about?" You know, 42:00I have no idea what's happening. Union Beach finally made the map. People know we're here, all thanks to Sandy. I would have liked it the other way.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. What do you think about Obama and Christie making their appearance in the town?

CHERYL MARA: Obama doesn't bother me at all. He could have stayed the hell out of here, because I don't think he's doing anything anyway. Just to show up here, make it look good, that doesn't impress me. Get your hands out there and figure out what's going on. Get these people working. You've done nothing. So, as far as Obama's concerned, I have no consideration for him at all. But Christie, I think, did a great job. He came in here. He's done a lot of things. I think he handled it well. There's a lot to handle. Is he perfect? No, nobody's perfect, but he handled it, and he cared, and he's been doing that all along, before the storm and after. Obama didn't know Union Beach existed. Christie did.

43:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: How do you feel about the rest of the response that you got from the country?

CHERYL MARA: They were amazing, everyone coming in here, sending the things that they did and taking the time to care. The Facebook posts you were seeing, coming from all over on different Facebook pages that they put up, all of the different charitable pages that were put together. The support was nice to see. That's where I got involved. That's where I saw it, was on Facebook pages, and it was nice to see that, you know, you aren't there, you aren't alone. The country was standing behind you and they knew what you were going through and they were all willing to help, which is- remember when Katrina happened? And kind of remember all that? Well, we were all working hard here to send stuff out there. It came right back to you. You were not alone when that happened. You know, how we all just- it's not "us," it's the country. Even overseas. You had people coming in 44:00from overseas bringing things. It was interesting.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Has the storm shaped your environmental views in any way?

CHERYL MARA: Oh yeah. Definitely gonna get more involved. I am definitely going to get more involved to find out what's going on. Before, I was just too shy to do it. Still too shy, but determined to find a way to conquer that shyness to get what I need to know and to try to change whatever I can, that's gonna make things better for us as a community and as a county.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that after everything, was there ever a moment where you felt like, you couldn't deal with this or you didn't want to go through this again, so you wanted to move?

CHERYL MARA: Never wanted to move. But I can tell you that I definitely have gone through those moments of, "I can't do another thing. If I get another phone call. If I get told that something else is wrong. If I walk in this house and 45:00find another leak, or nail out of place, I'm gonna lose it." I've had a lot of those moments, but never pushed me to wanting to leave.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, does it make you think a bit differently about the climate and the environment in which we're living in?

CHERYL MARA: Well, it makes me realize that it's changing and that we're gonna have to look to the future, because things we've never experienced before, we're gonna start to see. Like, we're starting to see more tornado touchdowns. Things are starting to happen. They're not going away, so as I'm rebuilding, I'm thinking those things through. How do I change things, if god forbid, tornado's coming through here, am I protected? What do I do? What's the town prepared to do? Do we have any place to do, if we're not, obviously, able to get the house secure enough to do what we need to do? Where do we go for that and know that 46:00the building's protected? So, yes, it definitely changed it, and it's definitely something I'm thinking about a lot, and focusing on.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. The question states, "have things returned to normal"?

CHERYL MARA: Obviously, my answer to that question is no. Not at all. Not even close. But hopefully by year's end. I'm hoping by the holidays, at least the inside will be normal and I can start to relax a little bit.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that things will ever return to how they were, or this will becoming a new normal?

CHERYL MARA: That's kind of a hard question. I think it's going to be- I think it has to become a new normal, because obviously everything here has changed. My entire home has changed. It's up off the ground. It's no longer down. The way I look at the storms, the way I look at different things going on is obviously 47:00going to be very different. Do you think I'm going to be leaving in another storm like that? Hell yeah. I don't care that I'm secure. But the joke is the next storm that comes through, like Irene, they're all coming here. They're going to be partying at this house. I say, "yeah, I don't know about that." But we'll see. Because I'm the only one on the block that went up. You know, everyone else, like I said, was basement, besides the guy next door. It was just too expensive, plus he's gotta turn his house. He's gotta get it off the street. And the other lady down the block, they're taking her house down and will rebuild it.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. [Sighs] What are the changes that you face to your daily life?

CHERYL MARA: Changes that I face to my daily life. There is no daily life. At this point, its' really going to work and I come home and I either sand, I paint, I put up a wall, I- whatever. Screw in screws somewhere. In fact, when 48:00we're done tonight, I'll be painting the bathroom, hopefully [unclear]. So, daily life doesn't really exist right now. I still have, in my opinion, there is no real life. It's just, you're going through a motion. And till this is done, we're going to continue going through a motion.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Are you doing everything yourself or do you have a contractor?

CHERYL MARA: Yes.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: You don't have a contractor?

CHERYL MARA: No, because they- the money I received was not enough for them.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Oh.

CHERYL MARA: I called in three different ones and they all said the same thing. So I am doing it myself. Thankfully, my brother's been over to help me. Yep.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Are you still making payments to your home?

CHERYL MARA: Oh sure. Absolutely.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: And when everything was out of sorts, were you still paying for electric, gas, and water?

CHERYL MARA: Well, we didn't have no electric, just very minor electric. There was very minor bills, so I paid that. Gas and water, absolutely. All my bills 49:00are getting paid.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, you're still getting- you have to pay them.

CHERYL MARA: You still have to pay them. You just struggle. When you're eating out instead of buying food, which is a lot more expensive, by the way, than eating from the home, so you kind of cut your meals in half, you know, and you do what you gotta do.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Can you tell me about the changes on the outlook of the community, that you have?

CHERYL MARA: As far as local for Union Beach?

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yes.

CHERYL MARA: At the moment, I don't even know, honestly, because I'm so focused here. I haven't been out in the community to find out. Like I said, I do know there's a lot of houses that were taken down and are not coming back up. I do know that there are people who have left from their homes because there's nothing they can do. Financially, they're losing money. They can't stay on top of it and they can't repair it, so they can't live there. They can't afford to 50:00pay any rent or mortgage while they figure out how to fix their home. So, in that respect, the community is not what it was. I know they've done a lot of the- they've kept the normalcy. They did have a farmers presentation, which we won, through some organization that was done. It was donated to us, which was fabulous. I, unfortunately, did not get to attend that, because I was obviously working here. They've pulled a lot of picnics together, pulled people up there just to take a half hour out of your day, come have a burger with everybody. They've done a lot of community that way, so the community's still coming together, which is nice to see. And the help- you know, I kind of hope it stays that way, because you got to meet people you would never met, because everyday, we all do our thing. We don't go to meet our neighbors. But at these types of events, you sit there, you share you stories, you know, going through 51:00everybody's hardships. You kind of become family that way. As far as the community is concerned, I can't really comment on the change, other than that. I can't really comment on what their plans are because I haven't focused on that.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you view the world differently now, because- after the response that you've seen from a national level?

CHERYL MARA: No, I can't say, I mean, because I've always seen the world- when a disaster strikes, everyone pitches in, and everyone's always willing to. You see more good than bad. You're always gonna have the bad. I mean, you have the bad here of people taking what was left of people's homes, and you see that, but you know? That's minor, and it's not the majority in the country. It's not the majority in the world. People are generally good and they want to help and they want to give, and that's what they do. So no, I haven't really changed my opinion.

52:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Do you think that the storm impacted the presidential election in any way?

CHERYL MARA: No, not really. I can't- like I said, Obama and I just not seeing eye-to-eye.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Was that prior to the storm or after?

CHERYL MARA: All along [laughs] All along.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's fine [laughs]. Do you think that the storm will have an impact on the governor election?

CHERYL MARA: I think it will. I absolutely do. There's no doubt it can't, because people are gonna be judging him based on what he did, how he performed, not for his whole term but during the storm. And that's what people are focused on, the people who love him, and you have those people who feel like [unclear] from him. You know, you're gonna have both sides, always those stories, anyway, but I think it's gonna be more emotionally heightened because it was an emotional time, and unfortunately, it's the only thing that they really are going to focus on. Nothing else but that.

53:00

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: What's a word of advice that you would give those in Moore, Oklahoma after going through their devastation, and you living through it yourself, what's a word of advice that you would offer?

CHERYL MARA: The word of advice I would offer is just to love and respect the people around you, and keep them close. Don't be running your daily life without knowing them. You just never know who you're missing out on. And all these people who lost their lives. For them, it was horrible when it happened. There's people today, in this neighborhood, that are going to say, "what, you're still going through this? What do you mean?" You hear that story, and then you think, "You live in this damn community, how do you not notice it?" because they weren't affected. So, you're gonna have that, but I think if you stay close with 54:00the people around you, your neighbors, your friends, your family. Make your neighbors your friends, you family. I think when times come up like this, there's nothing you can do other than to be able to be there and support each other, and just be willing to do it. Reach out. When someone needs you, reach out. Check on somebody. That's really it. That's the best advice I can give anyone.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: What do you think the legacy or the central message of the storm would be?

CHERYL MARA: The central message of the storm, well, that's a loaded question. That could be so many things, depending on how you look at it. You know, if you look at the preparedness of the storm, you obviously got to take every freakin' story they give you on the media and take it and believe in it, even when it doesn't happen. And the central message, emotionally, is obviously what I just 55:00said on the advice. Get out there and know the people. Don't be too busy to be involved. Get into your community and know your community. So, essentially, I think those are the two things that are gonna be- there's gonna be devastation everywhere, and that's a given, but the other two, I think, are more important.

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Is there anything that I missed, that you wanted to add, or anything that you want to share?

CHERYL MARA: I don't think so. I think I kind of got out what I needed to get out. We don't need the whole- a whole story. We just have--

TRDUI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Alright.

0:00 - Interview introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August 26th.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Cheryl Mara.

Keywords:

Subjects:

0:05 - Brief biography

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Can you state your name?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes the school system in her neighborhood. She also talks about her community and her involvement.

Keywords: After the storm; Area; Beach; Bedrooms; Community; Cost; Daughters; Dining room; Economic; Ethnicity; Family; Home; House; Income; Job; Kids; Lived; Lost; Moved; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Occupation; Organization; Rooms; Salary; School; Seasons; Storm; Town; Volunteer

Subjects:


GPS: Wall Township, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.158617, -74.067276

3:31 - First word of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay, so when did you first hear the storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Mara talks about how she thought the storm was made to be more than it was when she first heard the warnings. This lead her to stay in her house when everyone was supposed to evacuate.

Keywords: Area; Attics; Batteries; Evacuate; First thoughts; Food; Garage; Hit; Home; House; Kids; Neighbors; Prepare; Property; Stores; Storm; Supplies; Target; Water; Window; Working

Subjects:

5:49 - Warning of the storm / day of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. Do you think there was adequate warning?

Segment Synopsis: Mara talks about how sometimes warnings are not taken seriously. She also describes how she was evacuated from her house through boat which came right into her home.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Attics; Boats; Cats; Cell phones; Conditions; Daughters; Dogs; Doors; Evacuate; Facebook; Help; House; Keyport; Lights; Lost; Morning; Neighbors; Night; Power; Storm; Street; TV; Union Beach; Water; Weather; Work; Working

Subjects:

9:19 - First call

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Who did you call?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes how quickly the water was rising the day of the storm and how the police department rescued her and her family in boats. She also discusses how she managed to go to her neighbor's in-law's house after leaving hers.

Keywords: Attics; Before the storm; Boats; Car; Cars; Damage; Daughters; Doors; First person called; Floors; Help; Hit; House; Neighbors; Ocean; Police station; Roof; Rooms; Safe; Shock; Shore; Sleep; Town; Wall; Water

Subjects:

12:54 - Mood of the community after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay. So, can you describe the scene, the mood of the community?

Segment Synopsis: Mara talks about returning to her home and how most of the community lost a great deal of their property and belongings. She also discloses that she did not lost cell phone reception nor did she leave her house for a long period of time.

Keywords: Cars; Cell phones; Community; Daughters; Electricity; Floors; Heat; Home; House; Insurance; Lights; Lost; Money; Mood; Ocean; Outside; Power; Power lines; Roof; Scene; Storm; Tree; Verizon; Water; Yard

Subjects:

16:56 - Help from FEMA and insurance companies

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:So, how did you eat and stuff?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes how she got help from FEMA and her insurance company. She also talk about having her family over for thanksgiving and how everybody seemed to be just chugging along with the recovery after the storm.

Keywords: Area; Before the storm; Borough Hall; Brother; FEMA; Gas; Gas lines; Gas stations; Generators; House; Insurance companies; Job; Keansburg; Kids; Money; Neighbors; Phones; Stores; Supplies; Target; Thanksgiving; Trash

Subjects:


GPS: Borough Hall (Union Beach, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.441150, -74.179597

20:46 - Coping

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Right. How did you cope?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes the emotions that she and her family experienced after the storm. She also describes the anger that the people of the community are still experiencing because of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy had brought upon them.

Keywords: Angry; Basement; Borough Hall; Clean; Community; Construction; Cope; Coping; County; Doors; Electricity; Family; Floors; Friends; Garage; Gas; Home; Houses; Insurance companies; Kids; Lost; Money; Moved; Papers; Rebuild; Schools; Services; Shock; Stores; Storm; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Borough Hall (Union, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.441150, -74.179597

26:54 - Aid from police, firehouse, and first aid

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How was the response of the police during the time?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes the help she received from the police, fire, and first aid. She also discusses how people were looting empty and destroyed houses affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: Daughters; Dogs; Donated; Fire; Firehouse; First aid; Floors; Hazlet; Help; Home; House; Keyport; National Guard; Night; Ocean; Police; Safe; Town; Union Beach; Volunteers

Subjects:

29:09 - Government aid

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Can you tell me about the aid that you received on both the governmental and the community level?

Segment Synopsis: *

Keywords: Aid; Area; Blankets; Carter Project; Church; Community; Contributors; Country; Destroyed; Doors; FEMA; Food; Fortunate; Garbage; Government aid; Help; Helped; Home Depot; House; Houses; Insurance; Neighbors; Organization; School; Storm; Trinity Church; Volunteer; Work

Subjects:

33:15 - New Jersey's preparedness before the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:So, how do you feel about, overall, all the aid that you did receive?

Segment Synopsis: Mara discusses how grateful she is for the aid she has received after the storm. She also believes that the town could have done more to prevent so much damage if they had the money for it.

Keywords: Aid; Churches; Community; Destroyed; Dunes; Facebook; FEMA; Help; Home; House; Money; Neighbors; News; Phone; Power; Prepared adequately; Radio; Storm; Taxes; Town; TV; Water; Working

Subjects:

36:31 - Prevention methods

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Is there anything that they could have done differently?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes ways in which such disasters could be avoided. She also tells that she plans to prep her house for a storm of this nature after she gets it back to a livable condition.

Keywords: Area; Beach; Beachfront; Changed; Cost; Freak occurence; House; Media; Money; Mother Nature; News; Sleep; Storm; Town; Water; Work

Subjects:

39:27 - Media portrayal

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:That's my next question.

Segment Synopsis: Mara believes that the media portrayal was not realistic and not true to what was really going on. She also discusses the fact that she would like clearer warnings from meteorologists when storms like Sandy are approaching.

Keywords: After the storm; Facebook; Fireman; Floors; Home; House; Hurricane Sandy; Lost; Media; News; Phone; Roof; Sandy; Sensationalized; Stories; Storm; TV; Union Beach; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.446599, -74.177680

42:12 - Appearance of the president and governor / response from the rest of the country / environmental views

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Right. What do you think about Obama and Christie making their appearance in the town?

Segment Synopsis: Mara discloses her thoughts on the appearance of both President Obama and Governor Christie's appearance after the storm. She also describes how amazing it was to have the country and even places overseas being so supportive in this tough time.

Keywords: After the storm; Appearance; Barack Obama; Before the storm; Building; Changed; Chris Christie; Christie; Climate; Community; Country; County; Environment; Experience; Facebook; Future; House; Hurricane Katrina; Involved; Job; Katrina; Moved; Obama; Phone; Prepared; Protected; Rebuild; Response; Support; Tornado; Town; Union Beach; Working

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.446599, -74.177680

46:12 - New normal

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Partial Transcript:Okay. The question states, "have things returned to normal"?

Segment Synopsis: Mara describes how her home is now completely different because of the storm. She also tells that she is still in the process of rebuilding her home without a contractor.

Keywords: Basement; Brother; Changed; Contractors; Daily life; Electricity; Expense; Gas; Help; Home; House; Hurricane Irene; Irene; Money; New normal; Normal; Rebuild; Storm; Street; Wall; Water; Work

Subjects:

49:24 - Outlook on the community

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Partial Transcript:Okay. Can you tell me about the changes on the outlook of the community, that you have?

Segment Synopsis: Mara discusses that she believes people are innately good and want to help. She also discusses her community coming together more as a result to the disaster.

Keywords: Changed; Come together; Community; Country; Disaster; Donated; Family; Help; Home; Hope; Houses; Money; Mortgage; Neighbors; Normalcy; Organization; Plans; Renting; Response; Stories; Working; World

Subjects:

52:00 - Impact of the storm on the elections / word of advice for Moore / legacy of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Okay. Do you think that the storm impacted the presidential election in any way?

Segment Synopsis: Even though she felt the presidential campaign wouldn't be affected, Mara felt that the gubernatorial election was effected by the storm.

Keywords: Community; Daily life; Devastation; Election; Family; Friends; Governor; Governor Christie; Impacting; Involved; Legacy; Lost; Media; Message; Moore, Oklahoma; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Prepare; President Obama; Presidential campaign; Stories; Storm; Support

Subjects:

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