0:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August 10, 2013, it’s roughly 10:35. Can you state your name?

DIANE DISBROW: Diane Disbrow.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. If you don’t mind, sharing your age?

DIANE DISBROW: I am fifty-four.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And for the record, can you state your ethnicity?

DIANE DISBROW: Uh, I’m white?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, I’m going to ask you a few questions pre-storm, and ask you, about how long have you lived in the neighborhood?

DIANE DISBROW: I’ve lived in Tuckerton for, I guess, about forty years.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and what is your occupation?

DIANE DISBROW: My occupation is a real estate broker.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and how long have you been doing it?

DIANE DISBROW: Thirty-three years.

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

DIANE DISBROW: I love being at the shore. I love the beach, I love the water, and I love the sense of community that we have here in Tuckerton.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you tell me about the community, the reputation, or anything about it?

1:00

DIANE DISBROW: Well, even though we’re near Atlantic City and some larger areas, we are a very small-town feel here. When I moved here, there was one traffic light in the center of town, so we’ve grown. But still, we just know a lot of people. And even though I wasn’t born and raised here, my husband was. It’s just a great sense of community, and the Seaport actually, I think, helps build on that because of the volunteers here, and it’s kind of brought a lot of people together, I think.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Does Tuckerton have any nicknames?

DIANE DISBROW: Does Tuckerton have any nicknames? Not that I know of, no.

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

DIANE DISBROW: Oh. It was a few days before October twenty-ninth, so at least we had some time to prepare. We spent a lot of time trying to help my mother- and father-in-law get things out of their house that were valuable, get their cars 2:00moved and things like that. And it was kind of interesting, because it was only a year before that, or a little more than a year before that, we had Hurricane Irene. And we did the same thing, we made the same preparation. I came home early from a business trip because I’d been traveling, teaching, and it was like, Hurry up, batten down the hatches and do all this, and then really nothing happened. But you just didn’t know, you know. And this one—my husband’s a weather nut, (laughs) so he was like, “I think we need to really take this seriously.” But I don’t think anyone ever really anticipated the—three, four, five foot tides, and the devastation that happened. It was just—we weren’t ready. I mean, you just can’t imagine going through that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How did you prepare?

DIANE DISBROW: How did I prepare? I made sure my offices—because I have four real estate offices—were secure. I made sure to try to tell all my agents to 3:00be safe and secure. I, personally, my home itself, we just had some downed trees because I don’t live on the water. So my house was the safe haven to come to. A lot of people came to stay with us, including my in-laws. And I have a generator, so we still had power, and I could cook. So after the storm, I did a lot of that. (laughs)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How was the availability of supplies and things, prior to the storm?

DIANE DISBROW: Oh, as far as everybody trying to get to the grocery store and get as much milk and food and water as they could. There was enough but there was definitely panic. People were panicking, just like they do before a big snowstorm, but this was worse.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Um-hm. Okay. Do you feel that there was enough evacuation warnings in the town, in the area?

DIANE DISBROW: Yes, absolutely. Those who chose to stay, stayed at their own 4:00risk, because there was definitely a lot of advance warning that, okay, it’s time to get out.

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

DIANE DISBROW: These are really good questions for Christy and Lara [Bednarsek] since their homes were destroyed. Are you going to ask them? You need to ask them the same ones.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah. (laughs)

DIANE DISBROW: Okay. Got up that morning, we put our waders on, and we went—put them in the car—and went down to see how my mother- and father-in-law’s house fared. And they live next to a marina. So, our first sight was of all the boats just piled up in the street. And boats had gone through some of the houses and knocked down telephone poles. It just looked like somebody had picked up these boats and dropped them. So we couldn’t get to their house and the tides were still up, so we put our waders on, and we just 5:00kind of made our way through all these boats just to get to their house and report back as to how they made out.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, how did you respond after seeing all the damages?

DIANE DISBROW: How can we help? What can we do? A lot of the people went to the shelter, which was the high school right down the street from us. Is there anything we can to help them? Can we supply them with food? Is there any—you know, how do we reach out? Because we were okay. So people were coming to my house to get showers and (laughs) and I just cooked, which is what I love to do, because that was something I could do right off the bat, you know, was try to help feed people.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you describe the scene, the mood of the community the day after the storm?

DIANE DISBROW: I think everybody was in shock at first, and you really couldn’t get to a lot of places, and a lot of people were wondering how they 6:00made out. We have two offices on Long Beach Island, and it was quite a while before we knew how Long Beach Island survived and whether those offices were standing, not standing, so everyone was just kind of glued to the television. And since we had the generator, and a lot of people were without power, they were in my house, looking at my television, just watching the newscast and trying to pick out, Oh, that looks like Beach Haven, and that looks like—, you know? And then watching some of the news reports, sometimes they had it right, what they were looking at, sometimes they didn’t. And a lot of our news came from—

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How many people did you have in your home?

DIANE DISBROW: Oh, at any given time, I probably had twenty or thirty people.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How were you getting in contact with people?

DIANE DISBROW: Mostly via cell phone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so your cell phone didn’t go out?

7:00

DIANE DISBROW: I don’t think so. I think we were still able to reach people that way.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What cell phone company do you have?

DIANE DISBROW: Verizon.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That’s funny, okay. Where did you start with the cleanup?

DIANE DISBROW: Probably started with our family, and trying to help them first, and get whatever we could out of there, because the sooner you started with the cleanup, the better you will be, you know, getting the insulation, the sheetrock out. And then, trying to find out who else needed help. First things first, make sure they had a place to go. Since I’m in the real estate business, our two offices here we could open, so we opened up both of our offices the next day and said, Okay everybody, if you need to come in and use our computers—as soon as they were up and online—if you need water, if you just need to get a place to come in and have a cup of coffee, whatever you need, come in here. If you need 8:00us to help you try to find a place to live—, our offices, our rentals, stuff like that, anything we had open and empty, we were calling landlords whose homes were not destroyed, saying, Will you put people in a temporary rental? And what’s interesting is those temporary rentals have gone on for almost, you know, nine months now. But we called everyone we knew to try to find housing for the people who couldn’t go back in their homes because they were so destroyed. That kept us pretty busy.

(both laugh)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Who did you look to for support?

DIANE DISBROW: (whispering) Who did I look to for support?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you contact any companies?

DIANE DISBROW: Well, we knew the Red Cross was out, and they were helping and they were going up and down the streets and helping people, and giving them food and sandwiches and things like that. I think that, probably, personally, my husband and I, and my family, we were mostly busy trying to help people find 9:00housing, and where to go. And holding people’s hands (laughs) and trying to guide them through a lot of questions that they had, like, What’s next?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What would you say you saw the most as your community coping? How did they cope?

DIANE DISBROW: It was amazing that the churches, the schools, individual organizations started becoming collection points for clothes and food and supplies that were needed and trash bags and masks and, you name it. And it was just absolutely amazing to see how much the community came together for support. Wasn’t that long after Sandy that the Seaport had a gathering here, a community event, and used toys, because it was getting close to Christmas, and new toys, and I think they had more than they needed. People were leaving here 10:00with bags and bags of things. And clothing—whatever you need, it’s here. And it was just amazing to see the community come together. That—that was really moving for me.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What type of aid did you notice coming in, both on the local and governmental level?

DIANE DISBROW: Well, Governor Christie was getting a lot of people motivated to come out and help people. The debris removal was just amazing, how the communities handled that. So our public works departments just went into overdrive, because you really couldn’t let this stuff sit there. That would create more problems, to have moldy sheetrock and furniture and everything, so the cleanup was just, Wow, that was quick. You know, one day, you’re riding down the road saying, How sad is this? The next minute, it’s gone. So, you 11:00know, that took a lot. And you know, those crews are still out there, trying to clean up the lagoons and things like that, you know, and the area.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you tell me more about how you as a Girl Scout leader contributed to the community?

DIANE DISBROW: Well, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore will sometimes have different patch programs depending upon need. As a matter of fact, we put together a patch program a number of years ago for the Seaport, so that Girl Scouts from all over—not just New Jersey, but from anywhere—could come in here for an outing and learn about the Seaport and what it does, and that Baymen’s [Museum] and the history and things like that. Whenever they put together a patch program, they have different levels of girl scouting. We have Daisies, who are kindergarten and first grade, and we have Brownies which are second and third; Juniors which are fourth and fifth, and then Cadets start in sixth grade and go up to Seniors and Ambassadors. I’ve been a Girl Scout 12:00leader for ten years, so I’ve had them since they were Daisies and the same girls are still involved, but they make the requirements different for every age level. The Daisies have to do like two things and the Brownies have to do three, and so on. So the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore came up with their patch program, Restore the Shore. And they came up with a little patch, which you saw a replica, we built downstairs, and a lot of the different Girl Scout troops all the way up and down New Jersey and in other areas did things to benefit. What our Girl Scout troop did is, we did a food drive and a pet drive, because there was a lot of displaced animals, as well, in the shelter, so we did a scavenger hunt, and we had two truckfuls of food and dog food that we could take to the shelter and down to Atlantic City Rescue Mission and to the local food pantries. 13:00So that was one of the things that we did. We also volunteered at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, which helps the homeless, and there’s a lot more displaced people that ended up there as well. And then we built the float, we helped build the float, and that was quite the project, and that was the Restore The Shore float that was in the Memorial Day and Fourth of July Parade. And then our last thing that we’re going to do, because Cadets have to do four things in order to earn this patch, is we’re going to, in October, participate in dune grass planting over on Long Beach Island, because they really need to build up those dunes for a storm in the future.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right.

DIANE DISBROW: Which I hope there isn’t one.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How do you feel about the response that the town, the community was getting?

DIANE DISBROW: The response from—?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Local government or national.

DIANE DISBROW: I don’t think you could ask for anything more. I mean, I really—I know that there’s been some frustration with FEMA and things like 14:00that, but everybody, I think, is doing the best they can under the circumstances to get people back in their homes, to give them the kind of things they need. You may feel—people that are not living in their homes right now may tell you a different story, Trudi.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. (laughs)

DIANE DISBROW: You know, because it is frustrating. And a lot of this, we just weren’t ready for this. And the government wasn’t ready for this, and the decisions, and how high you have to raise your house, you know what I mean? That kind of stuff.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you feel like New Jersey had prepared adequately prior?

DIANE DISBROW: (sighs) I don’t know that you can ever be completely prepared for something like this. But I think that the notice was there. And I mean it’s a lot different when you look at the people in Oklahoma who just had a tornado. They had fifteen minutes’ warning. That’s not going to help you. We had a couple days to at least do what we could and at least get yourself to safety. Everything else can be replaced. In time. (laughs)

15:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think anything could have been done differently?

DIANE DISBROW: I really don’t think so. I mean—the one thing I’d like to see is—and it is happening—is organizations like Girl Scouts and churches and things like that continue to help. Because there was an outpouring right after the storm, but then after a while, things become status quo. So we can’t forget that there are still people out there that need our help and continue to do things like through this patch program, that are going to help the community.

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

DIANE DISBROW: Well, I think it was adequately portrayed. I actually, after a while, had to turn it off, because it was just over and over and over, you know 16:00how they repeat and repeat, and it was actually getting kind of depressing seeing the same thing over and over again. It happened. Let’s buckle down and see what we could do to help.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and how do you feel about the response that the country gave as a whole?

DIANE DISBROW: Well, I can speak from—I know that there was a lot of outpouring and there’s still organizations that are coming in from all over the country to assist people in this area and help them get their houses cleaned out and things like that. I also know from a realtor perspective, we have the Realtor Relief Foundation, whenever there’s a situation like this, like they’ve had hurricanes in Florida and where have you, they really assist monetarily, in helping the realtor community that was affected. So it was good.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Has this storm shaped the environmental issues?

17:00

DIANE DISBROW: Well, I think it’s changed the landscape of this area forever. I mean, it’s never going to look the same, as far as a lot of the houses are going to be up and raised and things like that. I think they’re doing their best to clean up the lagoons. Are they completely done? Not yet, I don’t think so. I think the boaters are still being kind of cautious. I mean, whole houses fell into the bay here, you know? (laughs) So it’s a big task but they’re doing a good job of trying to make it safe for everyone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Have things returned to normal for the most part?

DIANE DISBROW: No.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: No.

DIANE DISBROW: It’s going to be a long time coming. It is. You just take a ride around. There’s still a lot of people that are trying to rebuild, some making the decision that maybe their house has to be torn down and build new, and had to go through all the red tape of the insurance and FEMA and all that 18:00kind of stuff.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think it’ll ever return, or it’ll probably be some—a new normal?

DIANE DISBROW: I think it’ll be a new normal, yeah.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Have you made any personal changes to your daily life since the storm?

DIANE DISBROW: No, probably working more hours. (laughs) But that’s okay.

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

DIANE DISBROW: Yeah, I do. I do.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think it’ll have an impact on the governor’s election as well?

DIANE DISBROW: Absolutely.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: If you could tell your children, your grandchildren, about the storm, what would you tell them?

DIANE DISBROW: That I hope that it never happens in their lifetime. Again.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And then, if you wanted to give a central message about 19:00Superstorm Sandy, what would that be?

DIANE DISBROW: Be prepared. Be better prepared. And when you’re rebuilding, be prepared for this, because you just don’t know. Some people call it the hundred-year storm. I don’t know.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you have any advice to those in Oklahoma that’s recently suffering from damages?

DIANE DISBROW: Have faith, and I think they do. They’re strong people down there. I’ve been watching the news and have some contacts down there. I can’t imagine what they have gone through as well.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Right. And is there anything else that you’d like to share, that I didn’t cover?

DIANE DISBROW: No, I think you got it all.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: No? (laughs)

DIANE DISBROW: Time to get those other ones up here.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That’s it, all right. Thank you.

0:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript:My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is August 10, 2013, it’s roughly 10:35.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Diane Disbrow.

Keywords:

Subjects:

0:08 - Brief Biography

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Partial Transcript:Can you state your name?

Segment Synopsis: Disbrow is forty-four years old and has lived in Tuckerton for about forty years. She is a real estate broker, and loves living at the shore.

Keywords: Area; Atlantic City; Beach; Community; Ethnicity; Living; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Occupation; Small town; Town; Tuckerton Seaport; Volunteers; water

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

1:43 - First hearing about the storm

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Partial Transcript:Can you tell me about when you first heard this storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Disbrow prepared for the storm by helping her mother and father-in-law prepare their house for the storm. She also had to make sure her real estate offices were secure.

Keywords: Availability; Before the storm; Business; Cars; Devastation; Evacuation; Evacuation warnings; Food; Generators; Home; House; Hurricane Irene; Office; Panicking; Power; Prepare; Stores; Storm; Supplies; Tides; Traveling; Trees; Water; Weather; Worse

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

4:16 - Preparing for the hurricane / the impact of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Take me through the first day of the storm. Where were you, what was the first sights of the storm?

Segment Synopsis: During and after the storm many people went to Disbrow's house for shelter. She wasn't by the water so she did not have to worry about flooding. Disbrow had a generator so she was able to cook for anyone who needed food. Disbrow describes the aftermath of the storm as a devastation. To include, telephone poles where down and boats where in the middle of the streets.

Keywords: Boats; Cell phones; Community; Contact; Cook; Generators; Help; Home; Houses; Long Beach Island; Mood; News; Respond; Shelters; Shock; Storm; Television; Tide; Verizon

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

7:10 - Lending a helping hand to citizens in Tuckerton, Long Beach Island and the Atlantic City Rescue Mission

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Partial Transcript:Where did you start with the cleanup?

Segment Synopsis: Since Disbrow did not have any damage to her home she was able to help those who needed it. She started by helping her family. Disbrow opened both her real-estate offices after Sandy and welcomed anyone who needed help finding a place to live.

Keywords: Churches; Cleanup; Community; Family; Help; Houses; Organization; Schools; Support; Tuckerton Seaport; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

10:17 - Aids providing help to citizens around the Tuckerton area

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Partial Transcript: What type of aid did you notice coming in, both on the local and government level?

Segment Synopsis: Dibrow thinks that Governor Christie motivated a lot of people to help cleanup. Disbrow is active in the Girl Scouts helped the community with a food and pet drive, they also participated in dune grass planting on Long Beach Island. Disbrow thinks that the Local and national government responded adequately to the storm.

Keywords: Aid; Atlantic City; Christie; Cleanup; Community; Dogs; Dunes; FEMA; Food; Governor; History; Lagoons; Local government; Long Beach Island; Pets; Restore; Shore; Storm

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

14:32 - Preparing prior to the storm

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Partial Transcript:Do you feel like New Jersey had prepared adequately prior?

Segment Synopsis: The community has been a great help in local areas around Tuckerton according to Disbrow. She does not think that anyone could have prepared differently for the storm. Disbrow questions if the media was adequately portrayed.

Keywords: After the storm; Country; Depressing; Help; Houses; Hurricane; Media; New Jersey; Oklahoma; Organization; Prepared; Response; storm

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210

17:00 - Advice from Disbrow for storms to come

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Partial Transcript:Has this storm shaped the environmental issues?

Segment Synopsis: Disbrow does not think Tuckerton will ever be back to normal but that the changes have become a "new normal." Her advice for the next storm is to prepare better before and the storm.

Keywords: Cleanup; Contact; Damages; Election; Environment; Faith; FEMA; Houses; Insurance; Lagoons; Normal; Prepared; Rebuild; storm; Strong; Superstorm Sandy; Working

Subjects:


GPS: Tuckerton, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 39.603879, -74.340210
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