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´╗┐BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Today's date is August 1, 2013. This is Brittany Le Strange, interviewing Mike -- I'm sorry is it Dunlea, Dun-?

MIKE DUNLEA: Dunlea is fine.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Dunlea. At Tuckerton Seaport Museum. It is about 3:30 in the afternoon, and how old are you, Mr. Dunlea?

MIKE DUNLEA: I'm forty-six years old.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And here it says that you live in Manahawkin?

MIKE DUNLEA: Yes.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How long have you lived there?

MIKE DUNLEA: Thirteen years.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Thirteen years? Why there?

MIKE DUNLEA: I grew up in Atlantic Highlands on the water, and wanted to move back so we moved back with the children before my daughter started kindergarten, and we chose Stafford.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay and tell me about your family.

MIKE DUNLEA: I'm married for twenty-two years and I have a sixteen-year-old daughter, a fifteen-year-old son, and a nine-year-old daughter.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Busy house [laughs].

MIKE DUNLEA: Yeah. [laughs] Very busy.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Since this is an audio interview, can you tell me a little bit about your background in terms of race and ethnicity?

MIKE DUNLEA: I am Caucasian, um, Irish American. My family is Catholic by religion. So, is that what you were-

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Yes.

MIKE DUNLEA: Okay.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And what do you do for a living?

MIKE DUNLEA: I am a second grade teacher.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How long have you been doing that?

MIKE DUNLEA: This is my ninth year in second grade.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you do before that?

MIKE DUNLEA: I taught other grade levels, but prior to teaching I was in restaurant management.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Big difference.

MIKE DUNLEA: Yeah.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What made you switch?

MIKE DUNLEA: Well, once we had our children, I started to find that I had a certain interaction with kids that were the kind of- predisposed me to being set for the classroom, so I pursued it after I became a dad.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you like about living in New Jersey?

MIKE DUNLEA: I like the diversity. I like its proximity to New York City and Philadelphia and being in the middle of the megalopolis and having beaches and- we used to live on the ski mountain in Vernon before we moved back down to the beach. I like, definitely, mostly the water, being on the water.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Which shore would you say is your favorite?

MIKE DUNLEA: Uh, the shore?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Which beach?

MIKE DUNLEA: Well, I love the beaches on LBI now, but I grew up in Monmouth County so I always used to go out to Sandy Hook and Seabright, but I prefer LBI at this point.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Can you tell me a little bit about your neighborhood and community?

MIKE DUNLEA: Yeah, I live in Ocean Acres, which is a development in Saver Township, which is west of the Parkway. It's considered safe from storms because of the Parkway being a raised roadway. It's mostly middle-class, lower-middle-class families, single homes. The school that I work in is located in the middle for the development.

[Ambient voices]

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And how are you involved in the community besides being a teacher?

MIKE DUNLEA: We are members of a church on LBI, St. Francis Catholic Church. My children have been involved in different sports and activities and Girl Scouts and all through those different coordinations, I've been involved. And just by being a teacher in the town and living in the town it's been a very, pretty involved in everything.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When did you first hear about the storm coming?

MIKE DUNLEA: Coming? I knew that it was coming for quite a while, I was keeping an eye on it. And then I was at a workshop- a teacher workshop in Princeton when they changed and updated the estimated time the storm would arrive, and they started to proactively call for states of emergency, so I kind of had heads up for a while.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What were you first thoughts?

MIKE DUNLEA: That our time was up. That we were living on borrowed time for quite a long time.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So what did you expect? Did you expect it to be like it was?

MIKE DUNLEA: In some ways, yes, in other ways, no. I expected the intensity and the destruction that you see on the barrier islands. I didn't expect the flooding that followed inland and all the damage that I came upon.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. And how did you prepare?

MIKE DUNLEA: We did what most people do. We stocked up. We made sure we had some provisions -- batteries, candles. We made certain that we photographed everything around the house in case any trees were to fall, so for insurance purposes we would have documented proof that the house was in a good state prior to the storm. So, just pretty much that. Charged everything up.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you find the- how did you find the availability of supplies?

MIKE DUNLEA: They were fine. I don't think we really had any difficulty stocking up.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you believe that you had adequate warning?

MIKE DUNLEA: Yeah, yeah, I think we did.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Was there any evacuation warnings in your town in particular?

MIKE DUNLEA: In my particular region of the town, no, but in other areas I think they did start to- low-lying Bayfront areas may have been asked to mandatorily leave.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did you stay or did you leave?

MIKE DUNLEA: We stayed because, like, I said, we're considered a fairly safe area.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Okay. Take me through your day of the storm. Where were you? What were the first signs of the storm?

MIKE DUNLEA: Well, we were home and we were getting ready for the storm. We had taken some precautions of moving things in that had been outside -- furniture, that sort. Like I said, we just charged up to make sure we had battery power on the phones and the computers. And then we just kind of sat back and waited as a family. We either watched videos, or- we pretty much hunkered down.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What would you say the first sign was?

MIKE DUNLEA: I guess the rain and then the wind. And then the storm intensified, and we thought the worst of it -- we were watching some trees in our area fall. A house next door to us had a tree fall on it. Two houses down, across the street, had a tree fall on it. So we were just watching trees fall and hope that ours wasn't going to be in the line.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did your power go out?

MIKE DUNLEA: It did. It went out for, I think it was twenty-four to thirty-six hours. Not terribly long.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What did you guys do for dinner that night?

MIKE DUNLEA: I don't even recall. I don't know if I could tell you what I had for dinner last night [BRITTANY LE STRANGE laughs] But I don't really know.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you get information that first day?

MIKE DUNLEA: After the power went out we were primarily only able to get information via, of all things, Facebook, social media.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When would you say you went to sleep?

MIKE DUNLEA: It was late, because I know what happened was, the storm intensified and we thought -- it was very difficult, we had all the kids sleep downstairs, thinking that if a tree fell, it might impact the upstairs. So, everybody slept downstairs, and I'd say, probably one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, we finally, everybody got to actually fall asleep, but I don't think I actually slept. I think I just kind of in and out throughout the night, checking on things.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: When do you think the immediate storm ended?

MIKE DUNLEA: I remember getting very frightened around one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, and the winds picking up again. I had gone over, and it wasn't until the next morning, I think, it really felt like the worst of it had passed.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What was going through your head when you woke up the next day?

MIKE DUNLEA: Well, I was very grateful that a tree hadn't fallen on our house. We surveyed the damage to the neighborhoods and to the homes that were impacted. We went down and helped the neighbors whose tree had fallen on their house. So, that was our first activity after waking up.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Who did you contact that first day?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think we contacted our family further north to find out if anything had happened with them. We were just keeping in touch with family members to make sure that they were all safe. My parents still live in Atlantic Islands, my sister lives in Matasquan, so we just wanted to make sure that everyone was okay where they were and to report to everyone that we were okay.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So did you suffer any damages at all, then?

MIKE DUNLEA: I don't think we had any damage done to our- no, we had nothing done to our house, not even flooding.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Can you describe the scene and the mood of the community that day?

MIKE DUNLEA: Uh, I think there was a lot of relief, because if felt pretty intense and it was very frightening and we all thought we had dodged a bullet. We had watched trees sway that we were sure were going to fall that hadn't. A lot of trees did fall. We started to have a certain sense of curiosity. We wanted to see, knowing that there must be something worse out there so we wanted to take a look and see what other areas took what kind of a hit. So we started to drive around and realized that it wasn't very safe because of the power, the lights being out and wires being down.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: You said you got in touch with your family. How was your cell coverage? I know a lot of people had spotty service.

MIKE DUNLEA: Yeah, we did alright. We were able to recharge our phones in the cars. It was on and off, but it was okay for the most part.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So how did you go about your day-to-day necessities in the days to come, with lines and power outages and stores being closed?

MIKE DUNLEA: We had stocked up enough, we really were fine. We didn't have any major shortages of any sort. Primarily, once the power was restored, which thankfully was fairly soon, our discomfort or being put out was pretty much short-lived, and we were able to return to that- some normal sense of going to be and having warm water in the house for showers and all of that- that returned. We had to throw out a lot of our food that had gone bad in the thirty-six hours. But overall we didn't even use the water that we had bought prior. So, I think we went back to it in our own home. It was just that once we started to get involved in everything else, coming back was just- our home was like the place to shower and go to sleep.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And you are co-founder of START?

MIKE DUNLEA: Yes.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did that start?

MIKE DUNLEA: That began when I reached out to a co-worker who lived two or three streets over, and was checking on her and she had gotten a generator. A neighbor was lending her an extension cord and she invited us to come over and recharge any laptops, iPads, that sort of thing, phones. So we did and when we got there, she told me that Becky Mangino's house had been impacted and that they had a lot of flooding, and that they were in a bad state. And so then I went on Facebook and started to get other teachers and staff from the school district, saying that we had coworkers and students who were impacted in Beach Haven West, and if anyone wanted to go out and start to help cleaning up, that we should meet. And we had- I ended up getting, I guess it was four addresses from people by saying to them, if you know of anyone that's been impacted, let me know. We're getting volunteers together. And through that initial effort we got four efforts, including the Mangino's, and I think we had fourteen volunteers contact me via the Facebook post. And so we all met over at Becky's, and on South William Cook Boulevard, that section was accessible -- some sections were still blocked off.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

MIKE DUNLEA: We were able to get in there, and down that same stretch of that area, Beach Haven West, we were able to go and service three other homes. One was a student's home in Ilene, one of their neighbors that they said needed help, and then two houses down on, I think, Catherine. One was an employee and, I think, the mother of another employee.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: So it just grew from there?

MIKE DUNLEA: It grew from there. That was the- and then we posted on Facebook what we had done, and then it went to twenty-nine volunteers, and we got into, like, another maybe twenty houses the next day, and then it snowballed and it went beyond just teachers and teacher's aids and playground assistants, and then it became PTA members wanted to be involved and parents of students wanted to be involved, and then students got involved. And so then the necessity to feed people when they were doing this heavy labor came up, and a lot of people were home because schools were closed and they had their children and couldn't come out and actually gut homes, but they could do something else, so they prepared food and dropped it off at the Mangino house so we were able to create a buffet lunch of some warm food to serve all these volunteers when they were coming in out of the houses. So a lot of people who didn't actually go out with us to gut the homes were then preparing food, serving food, donating things that were needed. And by the first weekend, I think we had a hundred volunteers show up, and it was a very community-wide response. Word spread, and at that point we came up with the name, START, and create the Facebook page so that we can organize our efforts better. And then Joe and I came up with the flyer. Once Joe's house was in a pretty good state of having been cleaned up as best it could, at that point, then his focus shifted to paying it forward and being more involved with his neighbors on his street, and we started to elicit business in the way of finding out who needed help. And then the flyer was printed and put in Wawa and the post office, it was given to the FEMA agents who were out in the area, and to the Red Cross, and so our phones started to ring off the hook-

[BRITTANY LE STRANGE laughs]

MIKE DUNLEA: -and we were inundated with the addresses of people who were overwhelmed and needed help. And we were equally responded to with the call for more volunteers. Everyone was really in a rush to come down and have a hands-on impact on trying to make it better. And we ended up doing quite a lot of cleanup and rebuilding, and we've had a tremendous response. I think it was a positive side of everything that happened.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: To this point, how much money would you say you saved people?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think conservatively, we've saved over $3 million, but I think it's probably a lot higher than that.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And about how many volunteers do you think you've had?

MIKE DUNLEA: We were fairly careful about keeping track of the volunteers, and we're in excess of 2,200- something, higher than that, of volunteers, who collectively worked well in access of 11,000 hours of volunteer work. So, the labor alone, and the amount of work that was done- we came up with our estimated savings by multiplying out the number of homes we had by a figure, and that figure is based on what early cleanup estimates were being given, but as time went by, those cleanup jobs became more intense with the mold-

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

MIKE DUNLEA: -and we never really recalculated that. We just kind of were playing conservatively, because it didn't really- once you pass a certain number, I think, it doesn't really matter if you say you're saving three million or five million. It's just clear that it was a big savings to a lot of people who needed it desperately.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And can you tell me about this sign that's become the symbol of START?

MIKE DUNLEA: It's a section of Joe's fence and Becky's fence that was, you know, damaged during the storm, and we have an art teacher in district who was volunteering, who would come out and had a lot of children out on site that day, and she, I guess, envisioned it as a flag, with our initials for the acronym for START, and to make a difference being the catch- then end of the phrase. And I think it was a stroke of genius to have the volunteers sign it because now we have a permanent record of a fair number of the 2,000 volunteers. The signatures are there as proof to who came out and helped.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And [pause] was there any- how long did the response take in the area for, like, protocol and curfews to kick in, and things like that?

MIKE DUNLEA: Initially there was a lot of miscommunication among the- Preceding the storm, information was easy to acquire, but then after the storm hit, no one really knew what sections of towns were impacted. It was more a word of mouth, so when we went over to Beach Haven West, a lot of sections were not accessible because they hadn't yet been inspected or the gas hadn't been turned off. Wires were down. It was not considered safe, but other areas were okay. So, if you told people, "I'm gonna go over and work there," and someone had told them it's, you know, cordoned off- it was a confusing state of information about where curfews were and what areas were off-limits, and then little by little they started to roll it out. But I think as we became more organized and used Facebook as our main conveyor of information, it improved dramatically, and people were aware- even down to the fact that we started saying, "if you're coming, take Route 9 because they're opening LBI and 72's backed up." You know, you were able to communicate to a lot of volunteers, even traffic updates.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you believe the response in the community was a positive one?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think the response was a phenomenal response that really pulled everyone together from a lot of different areas, and all the different churches, all the different faiths, it didn't matter where you were from. Initially it was a very communal response and then it went statewide, and then it went region-wide, and then it was just people from all over. Colleges came down, twenty, thirty kids on a bus from New Hampshire. We had just an unbelievable response of goodwill and the positive side of humanity helping each other without the expectation of anything in return. It was a phenomenal response.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How was the response of the police and emergency personnel in the area?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think that they initially looked -- as they probably should have looked -- quite overwhelmed, and in the face of what they were up against, I don't think they had a very clear understanding of how to get out of this or how to go, where to go. But once we all started to work together, I think it unfolded beautifully, and I think the cooperation and the fact that Town Hall jumped in and let us run our flyers off, and they helped distribute the flyers, and they communicated what we were trying to get out there to the people that they knew needed the help, and it was very clear from very early on, that working together with the police and the fire and the relief organizations that came in and the town government, it really was a coordinated response that everybody was on the same page, and it was very smooth. It was- I think it really spoke volumes of how working together as a community, we were able to get out of it as quickly as we did.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: And how long was school out in the area?

MIKE DUNLEA: We were closed- the storm kind of came in on that Sunday/Monday. We were closed Monday through the rest of the week. Each day they would make the updates that the school would not open. You know, Halloween was canceled. The following week, we had off already as part of our school calendar due to the teachers convention.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

MIKE DUNLEA: So, we ended up being off for two solid weeks. In that time, the schools were able to prepare for reopening and felt that it was a safer environment to reopen and bring the kids back in. So they reopened, I think it was November 16 or something, around that time.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Was there any damage to the school at all?

MIKE DUNLEA: Our Stafford schools, I'm not aware, besides power failure. I don't know if there was any other damage done in the actual schools. I know other schools in the area suffered, like Beach Haven Elementary and LBI schools were impacted.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you feel about the response of government to everything?

MIKE DUNLEA: Uh, it was mixed. I think that our local government- in the very beginning it was not, there was not a lot of information being shared, and then very quickly it was corrected and I think there was a very clear shift, and you could perceive that there was a definite flow of information that was coming and going and it improved very quickly. And then, the state level was somewhat absent at the very beginning. And again, it was confusion as to what was going to happen and was going to be allowed or not allowed. Again, I think it was just the enormity of the situation is something that has never tested a state government before. And I think allowing them to have some growing pains in how they responded is a good way to look at it.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think New Jersey prepared adequately?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think New Jersey prepared very adequately when you consider the loss of life was minimal, and I think that it could have been better, but I still think it was a fairly good state of preparation.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think there was anything that could have been done differently?

MIKE DUNLEA: Um, you know, I hate to be a Monday morning quarterback, but you look at all these homes that are being raised now, and you think, "Why did we have to go through so much loss to find out that this was the good idea?"

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

MIKE DUNLEA: Like, why can't we as a society just go, "it would make good sense to raise houses that are on the water," and not wait for the loss and the damage and the enormity of the cost? It's gotta be cheaper. It's just, like, you know, an ounce of precaution equals a pound of cure, so if we could just allocated, find the money to do things in a smart way to prevent damage from happening, it just seems like that would be a better way that we could prepare for something in the future.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you believe that New Jersey should have put more dunes in place?

MIKE DUNLEA: I don't know. I'm not an expert on that. I know there's a lot of different opinions of it, but I think you just simply have to look at the homes that were behind dunes and then look at the homes that weren't behind dunes, and you can probably make a pretty good guess as to what probably oughta be there is what nature wants to put there, you know?

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you feel about the media coverage? Do you think it was accurate or wrong or?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think that it was okay, but I think, sadly, it's focused too much on the dramatic photographs that you can see of a home being destroyed in Ortleigh or Holgate, but the real enorm- like, the major losses is being missed on these homes that appear on the outside to be fine but have lost every single possession. I think the flooding was far greater than anyone had anticipated, and I think that that level of possession loss and financial ruination that has occurred, I think the displacement of whole groups of people from our society, the elderly that lived in Beach Haven West who will no longer be able to afford to live in and be a part of that community, I think it's a loss that has not been focused on because it's not a popular destination. It's not going to garnish the interest level of a news-watching public, but I sadly think that- Mystic Islands, you've never heard anything about what happened there on the news and yet it's severe devastation to these people. So, I think, sadly, I don't think it's been a very true representation of the level of suffering that has happened and continues to happen. I think people say, "Hey, the beaches are open, we're stronger than the storm," but these hard-working blue-collar people are still not home and may never come back.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right. What did you think about President Obama and Governor Christie?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think it was important, it was hopeful. I think it sends a message of politics can take a backseat when human suffering is at the center of everyone's attention. I think that they kind of gave people a shot in the arm when they needed it.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Right.

MIKE DUNLEA: And I think there's been a certain amount of honest collaboration that's happened between the federal and the state level, and I think it was indicative of that, so I took it as a good thing.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did it change your opinion of either man?

MIKE DUNLEA: Um, not entirely.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Do you think it impacted the presidential election at all?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think it's going to impact the state governor- gubernatorial election in a far greater way than it affected the presidential election.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How did you feel about the response of the rest of the country?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think the rest of the country feels, probably rightly so, that the northeast is a very well-endowed area of the country that is very independent and doesn't require a lot of assistance, but I think that in this size of a storm, I- Well, I think the people of the rest of the country responded great, but some of the politicians that you've heard, who were against freeing up the money, and then since then their states have come into their hour of need and it's a bit ironical that they are in that position of having said to prevent funds from being freed up for us but then they're asking for funds for themselves. I think in that regard, I don't want to give a black eye to the people of the states of those governors, but I think overall, we're a very -- like I said, we're not, I think we were in a good place prior to the storm, whereas like, New Orleans was not in a good place prior to its storm, so it was suffering prior to Katrina. I think we were in a good place before Katrina, so in that regard I think we've been a little bit different.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: How has it shaped any environmental issues that you personally believe in, or political-wise that people fight for?

MIKE DUNLEA: The beach replenishment is a very big, thorny issue. It just seems to make common sense to me that these things need to be quickly ironed out, and not be allowed to be hijacked by a minority few, either the government or if it's homeowners, whichever side. Having said that, I think homeowners should need severe right that can be not messed with my government, because, yes, in this situation it might be something you would agree on, but the next time it's utilized, it may not be. So, it's a very slippery slope. But in this situation I think it makes common sense. Unfortunately, you know, if one person says no, it affects the others all around them that said yes.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Have you seen things start to return to normal at all?

MIKE DUNLEA: In certain areas. You know, you drive out on LBI it seems pretty normal. In areas there are still signs that it's not. There's a lot of closed up businesses. You know, Ship Bottom's main business area, that's sad, and you can see, like the House of Bricker didn't reopen and the Powdery Barge didn't reopen and other locations up and down that area. I believe one of the five-and-ten type stores didn't reopen. But you go down to Beach Haven and you wouldn't even know a storm him. But then you come back and you drive down Mill Creek Road, and you see a boat sticking out of someone's house still, and you see a breakaway wall still dangling that still hasn't been cleared off. And you see a home that you went in with people, and gutted, and it's still exactly as it was the day you left it on November 3, or whatever day you happened to be at that house, and you drive around and you see signs of progress. It looks almost like mushrooms after a rainstorm, like all these houses are popping up onto- they're all being raised up onto stilts and pilings, so they're all over the place. So, some of it, yeah.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Any changes to your personal daily life?

MIKE DUNLEA: My daily life has fairly returned to normal at this point. But it's been permanently changed because of the experience that I went through.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Has it changed your outlook on the community?

MIKE DUNLEA: It has. I think I have a lot of hope and I have a lot of faith in this area and this community and the response and the way that, when everyone works together, and what separates us- whether it be your political viewpoints or your religious denominations, or any- your economic levels, when people work together side-by-side, they were able to achieve a lot of great things in a very quick way. And I think that made everybody feel a lot more connected.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What would you tell your, obviously your children are gonna remember it, what would you tell your grandchildren down the line?

MIKE DUNLEA: That when you need help, you need to reach out. You need to understand when something that's bigger than yourself, that there's others that are always waiting to help.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: If you were to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

MIKE DUNLEA: I guess the message would be that- my motivation behind what I did and where it took us was just that simple sentiment that I've used as a steering mechanism in my life and that is, there but for the grade of God go I. That if your house is spared damage during a storm, that someone you know, even if someone you didn't know, that somebody else's house isn't, you really need to step up and shoulder that burden, because if the tables were reversed, it's what you hope someone would do for you.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: What do you think the legacy of the storm will be?

MIKE DUNLEA: I think the legacy of the storm will be a lot of good stories of people coming together who overcame something that was almost insurmountable upon its first surveying. I think the legacy of the storm will be that we learned a lot of valuable lessons about our vulnerability as an area and a region, but also the strength of the people that live in that region, and how we can pretty much survive anything that is thrown at us if we all choose to roll up our sleeves and get involved.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Did I miss anything? Is there anything I haven't asked I should have about START or anything?

MIKE DUNLEA: No, I think- the one thing I would say that hasn't been brought up is the children, the students, the young adults, the teenagers. They get such a bad reputation all the time, and during this storm we saw what I would say are glimpses of the future. They really stepped up and were selfless and worked as hard as adults. Their generosity, their kindness, their compassion came out. They saw human suffering and they really were impacted by it. You know, so often children are ego-centric, and it was so impressive and touching to see on such a wide scale a response like that from kids of all ages, and I'm profoundly positive about the future of our society, having seen how the children responded to this type of an event. I think for them, it'll be a very transformative story that will always be with them, and the lessons that they've learned, it will help them steer through issues that might hit them personally later on in life. So, I think that is a big thing that people should walk away with is how the children really were amazing through this whole process.

BRITTANY LE STRANGE: Thank you so much. That concludes the interview.

MIKE DUNLEA: Thank you very much.

0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript:Today's date is August 1, 2013. This is Brittany Le Strange, interviewing Mike -- I'm sorry is it Dunlea, Dun-?

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Mike Dunlea.

Keywords:

Subjects:

0:17 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript:How old are you, Mr. Dunlea?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea discusses why he chose to be a second grade teacher after teaching other grade levels. He also shares why he chose to live were he does.

Keywords: Beach; Children; Community; Daughters; Ethnicity; Family; Home; House; Involved; Kids; Lived; Long Beach Island; Manahawkin; Moved; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Parkway; Safe; Sandy Hook; School; Seabright; Shore; Son; Storm; Town; Water

Subjects:

3:09 - First word of the storm

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Partial Transcript:When did you first hear about the storm coming?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea shares that upon first word of the storm, he did not expect for the storm to reach the magnitude it did and for it to cause so much damage. He also discusses how he and his family prepared for the upcoming storm.

Keywords: Area; Availability; Barrier islands; Batteries; Candles; Changed; Damage; Destruction; Dinner; Emergency; Evacuation warnings; Expect; Facebook, Social media; Family; First thoughts; Flooding; Furniture; Hope; House; Impact; Information; Insurance; Intensity; Kids; Lived; Morning; Night; Phones; Power; Precautions; Prepare; Rain; Safe; Signs; Sleep; State; Storm; Street; Supplies; Town; Trees; Wind

Subjects:

7:02 - The next day

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Partial Transcript:When do you think the immediate storm ended?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea shares that the mood of the community was filled with a sense of relief because the storm was finally over. He also discusses how his family got to obtain necessities after the storm.

Keywords: Area; Cars; Cell phone; Community; Contact; Coverage; Damage; Family; Helped; Hit; Home; House; Immediate; Impact; Lights; Mood; Morning; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Phones; Power; Safe; Scene; Service; Storm; Trees; Wind

Subjects:

10:08 - Introduction of START program

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Partial Transcript:And you are co-founder of START?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea discusses how the program START began. With START, he was able to help affected victims of Hurricane Sandy with their homes.

Keywords: Area; Business; Clean up; Cleanup; Donations; Facebook; FEMA; Flooding; Food; Generator; Help; Home; House; Houses; Impacting; Involved; Job; Lived; Money; Neighbors; Office; Phones; Rebuild; red Cross; Response; School; Schools; Service; State; Street; Volunteers; Work

Subjects:

14:34 - More about START

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Partial Transcript:To this point, how much money would you say you saved people?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea shares about how many volunteers have participated and the artist who created a sign for START which all the volunteers signed.

Keywords: Area; Beach Haven West; Childen; Cleanup; Curfews; Damage; Facebook; Gas; Home; Information; Inspection; Job; Money; Protocol; Response; Sign; State; Storm; Town; Volunteers; Work

Subjects:

18:01 - Response from the community / government

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Partial Transcript:Do you believe the response in the community was a positive one?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea thought the response from the community was great because of how they were able to come together. He also discusses the gradual improvement of information flow from the local government.

Keywords: Communication; Community; Cost; Dunes; Emergeny; Fire; Kids; Loss; Morning; New Jersey; Oranizations; Police; Positive; Power; Precaution; Prepare; Prepared adequately; School; Water; Weeks

Subjects:

23:20 - Media coverage / Response from rest of country

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Partial Transcript:How did you feel about the media coverage? Do you think it was accurate or wrong or?

Segment Synopsis: Dunlea describes that the media coverage was not as accurate as he expected it to be.

Keywords: Accurate; Beach; Country; Coverage; Destroyed; Devastation; Election; Flooding; Governor; Governor Christie; Hurricane Katrina; Impacting; Important; Katrina; Lived; Media; Outside; Politics; President Obama; Respond; Severe; State; Storm

Subjects:

28:03 - Normalcy / Legacy of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Have you seen things start to return to normal at all?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Area; Businesses; Changed; Children; Community; Daily life; Damage; Econoic; Faith; Grandchildren; Help; Hope; House; Houses; Impacting; Kids; LBI; Legacy; Message; Normal; Outlook; Political; Positive; Rain; Religious; Response; Sign; Stores; Stories; Storm; Work

Subjects:

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