0:00

MARY PIASECKI: My name is Mary Piasecki. I am interviewing Nicholas Willem on the twenty-fourth of March, 2013, in Nick Willem's residence in Middletown, New Jersey. Hi Nick, how are you?

NICK WILLEM: Good, how are you?

MARY PIASECKI: Good. All right. We're just going to start with a few basic questions. How old are you?

NICK WILLEM: Twenty-six years old.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long have you lived in Port Monmouth?

NICK WILLEM: About eighteen years.

MARY PIASECKI: Eighteen years, okay. And how long have you lived at your house?

NICK WILLEM: Seventeen years.

MARY PIASECKI: Seventeen years, okay. And do you have a basic cost for the house? Were you the one paying the bills?

NICK WILLEM: Uh, no. I was living with my mother.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and was there anyone else living in the house?

NICK WILLEM: Yes, my mother, my grandmother, myself, and my girlfriend.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. How many rooms, about what was the space of the house?

NICK WILLEM: Three bedrooms.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay.

MARY PIASECKI: And why did you decide on Port Monmouth?

NICK WILLEM: That's where my parents had decided. The school system was good and they wanted us to grow up in a good neighborhood.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Is there any reason they chose New Jersey?

1:00

NICK WILLEM: That's where all their family is.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about your family?

NICK WILLEM: Very family oriented. You know, we get together every weekend. Family parties are big.

MARY PIASECKI: Do you have any siblings?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. One brother.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what's your current place of employment?

NICK WILLEM: Foam Technology.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And How long have you been working at Foam Technology?

NICK WILLEM: Two years.

MARY PIASECKI: Two years. Okay. And do you care to discuss the salary or income bracket Foam Technology affords you?

NICK WILLEM: I make approximately forty thousand dollars a year.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And about living in New Jersey, what attracts you to New Jersey?

NICK WILLEM: All my family is here. I've lived here all my life. I'm just so used to the lifestyle of New Jersey.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Where do you typically hang out?

NICK WILLEM: At my house, possibly friends' or family's houses.

2:00

MARY PIASECKI: Do you like to go to the beach or down the shore?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. What areas? What beach do you typically go to?

NICK WILLEM: Sandy Hook once in a while, when it's not too crowded.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Do you have any opinions about Jersey Shore, the show?

NICK WILLEM: No.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Do you no negative or positive feelings about it?

NICK WILLEM: I don't care to watch.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Can you just tell me a little bit about your community? About Port Monmouth?

NICK WILLEM: It's very close. When something happens, the whole town knows about it--everybody is very one.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how involved are you with the community?

NICK WILLEM: Very involved. I'm a volunteer fireman in the town.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long have you been a volunteer firefighter?

NICK WILLEM: Eight years.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. What fire department do you belong to?

NICK WILLEM: Port Monmouth Fire Company.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And approximately how many other volunteer firefighters are in your company?

NICK WILLEM: Around forty.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Is there any kind of nickname or a certain reputation that 3:00goes with Port Monmouth, or your area?

NICK WILLEM: No.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And you said the school system was very well established. Do you have any other feelings on the school system?

NICK WILLEM: Nope. I enjoyed, you know, my years of schooling here.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how's the crime level in Port Monmouth?

NICK WILLEM: Very low.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how would you describe the economic base of Port Monmouth? Socioeconomic? Do you believe it to be a poorer area or more middle class?

NICK WILLEM: More middle class. There are some people that have a little more money in the area, but don't show it.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. All right, now we're going to move on to discuss a little bit more about Hurricane Sandy. When did you first hear that Hurricane Sandy was coming?

NICK WILLEM: Probably about a week in advance.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what were your first thoughts about hearing the storm coming?

NICK WILLEM: I didn't think much of it until one or two days beforehand.

4:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what did you expect?

NICK WILLEM: Flooding in low-lying areas. Nothing catastrophic like the way it was.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you prepare for the storm? Did you do anything in particular?

NICK WILLEM: I went around my house. I put stuff up on my bed. I had packed clothes bags for myself, my grandmother, and my mom. We packed up a lot of the food out of our pantry, just in case we had to leave and go somewhere for a couple days.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you find supplies to be readily available?

NICK WILLEM: Well, we always try to keep our house stocked with, you know, everyday supplies, that way in case of some kind of emergency we have everything.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. So did you have to go to any stores to buy any supplies? Or you had everything readily available to you?

NICK WILLEM: We had everything.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Did you feel that you had an adequate warning for Sandy?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what did you think of Governor Christie's warnings? 5:00What did you make of them?

NICK WILLEM: He warned people that it was going to be possibly the worst storm in history and he was pretty spot on with everything.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And were there evacuation warnings in Port Monmouth?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. Being part of the fire department we had gone around in our area, over our PA systems, telling people it was a mandatory evacuation and that if they were to call, if something were to happen, unfortunately as per the state, we were not allowed to go out and do anything.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you take heed to these mandatory evacuations? How did you respond personally?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. I took my grandmother and my mother over to my aunt's house in Belford, where they were way away from water. And we left nothing at the house.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how else did you prepare the house? Were there anything you did with the cars? Or any pets?

NICK WILLEM: We got all our pets out. We got all the cars out of our driveway. We took as much necessary precaution as we could not to lose anything.

6:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And, I'm just going to ask that you take me through your day of the storm, step by step. Like, where were you at the beginning of the day?

NICK WILLEM: The beginning of the day, I had woken up and it was high tide and the water was up to my front steps. Unfortunately we couldn't go anywhere because the water was so high. When the water had finally receded, I had gone down to the firehouse to see what was going on, to hear of any kind of news, and then (clears throat) we sat at the firehouse for a couple hours just, you know, riding around in the engines, telling people about the mandatory evacuations. After that, I had gone back home, helped pack, you know, clothes bags for my mother, myself, my grandmother. You know, packed up food supplies, enough for two weeks. Took all the spare cars out of our driveway. Drove my grandmother 7:00over to my aunt's house. Got my cats over to my grandmother's--or my aunt's house. (clears throat) After that, we just started going around the house, putting whatever we could up on our beds, in case of possible flooding. (clears throat) After that, we kind of just waited around. We eventually lost power. We were running off a generator. After that, the water started coming up again for the next high tide. Once it got up to the top step at my house, we decided it was just time to leave. There was nothing else to be done about it. After that it had been twelve hours before we got back into the house. And I spent the rest of the night with the fire department. Our firehouse actually got flooded out in the middle of the night and we were forced to leave, we sat in the engines in 8:00our Foodtown parking lot for a couple hours, not knowing what was going on at our houses or anything like that. We finally got back into the firehouse around 2 a.m. the next day. It was complete disaster, there had been about four feet of water. Some of us decided to go to our houses real quick to see what the damage was. When I finally got in, there was about three and a half feet of water that had been in the house, and everything was just destroyed and thrown around the house. And I had gone back to the firehouse to try and get some sleep, so the next morning we could start the rebuilding process.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And do you recall approximately when your power when your power went out that day?

NICK WILLEM: Probably around two o'clock in the afternoon.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what were the conditions like before the actual 9:00hurricane? Was it windy? Or rainy?

NICK WILLEM: It was windy. It drizzled here and there. It wasn't a steady downpour.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And the first day you had said you spoke with your firefighter partners about information. Did you get information from any other sources?

NICK WILLEM: Well at the time we were watching the news. They just kept talking and repeating Governor Christie's message of the evacuations and all of that.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And when did this immediate storm end?

NICK WILLEM: The immediate storm ended, probably the night of Hurricane Sandy. Probably around midnight.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And that next day, what was going through your head when you woke up?

NICK WILLEM: I had only gotten about an hour and half sleep. I wanted to just go to my house and the firehouse and just start throwing everything away. My 10:00biggest concern was mold inside the house, that I wanted to start the remediation process immediately.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And when did you first go outside, approximately?

NICK WILLEM: Go outside for what?

MARY PIASECKI: When did you first leave your house? After your hour and a half of sleep, you had said you left the house.

NICK WILLEM: Oh, I had left the firehouse, because I was sleeping at the firehouse, upstairs.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what did you see, initially?

NICK WILLEM: Our dumpster from the parking lot was in the middle of the road. A hundred--approximately a hundred yards away from where it was. There were cars, you know, in the middle of the street. There was just debris everywhere. You could see some of the houses were missing walls.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And who did you contact first?

NICK WILLEM: I called my mother to let her know that I had gotten into the house finally, and let her know the approximate damages of what I saw.

11:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and could you further explain the damages that you had seen at your house?

NICK WILLEM: My couches ended up in my kitchen. Dressers were flipped over, my TVs had water lines halfway up them. My kitchen chairs and tables were just tossed over. My dry cat food was just all over the place. Anything that we had was just in another room and not in its normal position.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you get in touch with people around? What kind of cell provider do you have?

NICK WILLEM: I have Verizon, and the cell coverage was fine. It didn't seem too busy. It also helps being part of the fire department, you know, being able to use, you know, fire house radios and all that.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And can you just describe for me a little bit about the mood of the community? What the scene looked like?

NICK WILLEM: Everybody was very distraught. Down at the firehouse, people were 12:00trying to get back into town, and we had Middletown Police in front of our building, who had shut down trying to get into that area of Port Monmouth because it was so hard hit. They were worried about looters, so seeing everybody and their cars lining up, very angry, wanting to (clears throat) figure out what the damage was like, and they weren't allowed back in yet.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what were some of the issues following the next day? Did you incur with day-to-day necessities, as like food, or things of that nature?

NICK WILLEM: Well with the emergency food we had packed, we were fine. We had packed like soups, easy-to-cook items that could be cooked on a, you know, propane stove or anything like that. The firehouse had ordered some pizzas, you know, the Red Cross had helped us out and sent some food over and all that stuff.

13:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and you were staying at the firehouse. Is that correct?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long were you at the firehouse approximately?

NICK WILLEM: I stayed at the firehouse three nights after the storm.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long were the power outages in the area?

NICK WILLEM: We didn't get power back for two weeks.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you experience any issues with store openings? Were there any local stores closed?

NICK WILLEM: I don't even know. My biggest goal and main concern was gutting and getting everything out of my mom's house.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you experience any of the gas shortages?

NICK WILLEM: I did not personally go stand on the gas lines for our generator. I had sent my girlfriend. Only for the fact that I had to stay at the house and work.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Was there any issues with the mail service as a result of the storm? Were you able to receive mail?

NICK WILLEM: Honestly, I don't even recall.

14:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and there was a great deal of debris you had mentioned earlier, was there issues with the picking up of the debris or the trash?

NICK WILLEM: No. The first day, we really got a move on everything. We got a lot out into the front yard and into the street. And we were worried about how they were going to come pick everything up. But a couple hours later, they were sending dump trucks down with front loaders picking everything up. They did a very good job. They were there for the next couple days and they really helped us out a lot.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what did your street look like with everyone? Was everyone doing the exact same thing, with the emptying of the house?

NICK WILLEM: My three-car-lane street became a one-lane passing way, with everyone just throwing every personal belonging, their couches, everything they owned out in the middle of the street because it was ruined.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long did that cleanup take for you? That process?

15:00

NICK WILLEM: About two and half weeks to throw everything out and gut the house completely.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and did you gut all of the sheetrock or just up to where the flood level was?

NICK WILLEM: We had about three and half feet, so we went another six inches up to four feet.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And then after the storm, who did you look to for support or help?

NICK WILLEM: My fellow firefighters. They were a great deal of help. They knew my position and everything. They brought me hot food, they knew I didn't have time to stop and try and cook. They were there, they helped me unload my closets to try and get my clothes in bags so I could send them off to the laundromat. They really helped me out a lot in a lot of aspects.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, did you have any issues with the power company, when you were trying to rebuild your--I'm sorry, excuse me, when you were cleaning up your house?

NICK WILLEM: They came out. They pulled our meter off the side of the house that 16:00way if the power were to come back on, it wouldn't send power to the house only because our panel had gone underwater.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what was the interaction with the insurance companies like for your house?

NICK WILLEM: They were so busy. They kept telling us, "We don't know when were going to be able to get out to you." They were actually fairly quick with it, within five days, we had an adjuster out to take a look at all the damages.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and what was your interaction with FEMA like? Did you have any interaction with FEMA?

NICK WILLEM: We had a FEMA adjuster come out and had said, you know, "You will receive some money. You have 100 percent damage to your house." And two weeks later, we had received confirmation in the mail that we were being denied any funds from FEMA.

MARY PIASECKI: Did they list any reasons for that denial?

NICK WILLEM: Not that I can recall.

17:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what was the protocol like? Was there curfews in place?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. At dusk you could not be out on the streets. It was very difficult being working on the house. I tried to stay there as long as I could. Sometimes till one, two o'clock in the morning. There was instances where I was bringing garbage out into the middle of the street and cops would come down and question who I was and why I was still there and that if I knew about the curfew.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you cope with the process of Hurricane Sandy?

NICK WILLEM: I don't think it initially hit me until I was completely done gutting the house. I didn't really have time to stop and dwell on anything because of the amount of work that had to be done.

18:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay and how do you feel that your community coped with the storm?

NICK WILLEM: Everybody had a great deal of pain. We all came together. People donated to the firehouse for clothes for people who lost clothes. People were donating canned goods for people who didn't have food. People were donating candles, the community really came together.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Do you feel that it was a positive response as a result of Hurricane Sandy with the community?

NICK WILLEM: Absolutely. Like I said, everyone came together. Everybody really pulled together and, you know, everyone became a lot closer.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Did you feel safe after the storm? Was there issues with loitering?

NICK WILLEM: Absolutely. There had been numerous accounts of people going in, stealing whatever was not, was unaffected by the hurricane. And that's why the 19:00curfew was set in place.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Did you feel that there was a very valid police response? How did they react to the loitering?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. Middletown had stepped up and put a lot of officers on duty. We had Alabama State Police in my area. They were patrolling every night. They had at least one or two helicopters going up and down streets, shining their lights over, you know, very, very on top of their game.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did people respond to you as a volunteer firefighter?

NICK WILLEM: They asked a lot of questions, like, Are there any shelters? They were looking for a lot of information that unfortunately hadn't been passed on to us yet due to the severity of everything.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Did you have any other interaction with emergency personnel?

NICK WILLEM: Every other couple days I tried to get to the firehouse to see what 20:00was going on. I would ride a call once in a while. It was hard to get back into the swing of things there with everything going on.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you see any religious communities or any involvement with religious organizations?

NICK WILLEM: (clears throat) A lot of religious organizations came in, they had disaster relief set up, where they come in with trailers. They had showers, they had stuff to be able to wash your clothes. They had food, you know, they had cots and blankets and all of that kind of stuff to try and stay warm.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you receive any kind of government aid? Or anything from the community?

NICK WILLEM: We got no government aid. We did, however, get community aid just from local firehouses, the religious groups would come down and drop off hot soup during the day and all that type of stuff.

21:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how long were you out of work?

NICK WILLEM: About three weeks I was out of work.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And you had said that you ran off a generator while you didn't have power. Did you contribute any other resources to your local community?

NICK WILLEM: What do you mean?

MARY PIASECKI: Did anyone come to use your generator? Did you offer your home or any other resources?

NICK WILLEM: Our neighbor next door ran one extension cord off just for lights at night so he could also work on his house.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. (paper shuffling)

MARY PIASECKI: And how did you feel about the response from the local government?

NICK WILLEM: They were very slow in getting to us. My firehouse was without power for two weeks. We didn't get a generator or any sort of help until two and a half weeks later. We were opening the doors by hand. We were leaving the 22:00engines outside so that they were easily accessible. All our gear was underwater and still had to be disinfected and cleaned. And we had no help whatsoever.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And you had mentioned earlier FEMA denied your claim, but how did you feel about the response as a whole with the storm?

NICK WILLEM: They were very fast, they came to town quick. They tried to meet with everybody as soon as possible. They were very, very fast in getting there.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay and how did you feel about the response of the insurance companies involved?

NICK WILLEM: With the amount of work they had, they took a lot of people in from throughout the country to help with the claims and everything like that. Our adjuster was actually from Arizona. And he had driven in and he had only gotten there to us about six days after the storm.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you feel about the federal government's response, with Obama?

23:00

NICK WILLEM: I didn't see much of federal response. I know the National Guard was called in, but in some worse-off areas.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did you feel there was a response from the governor? From our state government or Chris Christie?

NICK WILLEM: There was. It took some time. Governor Christie actually made an appearance at our firehouse to say, you know, "We will rebuild."

MARY PIASECKI: Do you believe that New Jersey prepared adequately for the storm?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. I know multiple towns had done mandatory evacuations. I know they had set up some shelters that people can go to at the local high schools and middle schools. I think they did as much as they could in the amount of time 24:00they had.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Do you believe that they could have done anything differently?

NICK WILLEM: I don't think so. I know they only had about a week's notice for the storm. And with the resources and the amount of volunteers to set everything up as quick as they did, I think they did an adequate job.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay and did you believe anyone to be at fault for the storm? Or that it was rather a freak occurrence?

NICK WILLEM: It's just Mother Nature.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you feel about the media coverage?

NICK WILLEM: Before the storm they kept repeating, It's going to be one of the worst storms in history, don't take it very lightly, do all you can to prepare. After the storm, I had no TV, I had no power, I wasn't able to watch any of the coverage. Besides what happened in my block and my area, I didn't know what 25:00happened outside of that area.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And you had mentioned earlier that Christie made an appearance at the firehouse, did that help you to feel represented in the storm?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. He had rode around Port Monmouth to take a look at the damages. I was glad to see someone there to see what we were going through, to see what we were dealing with, to hopefully get some sort of aid from the state.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and what did you think about Obama during after the storm when he was also taking trips around New Jersey?

NICK WILLEM: I had only heard about them. Obviously as President's duty, he should be here seeing what's going on. You know, thinking, Hey these people are going to need help, we have to free up some kind of funds to, you know, help them in the remediation process.

A MARY PIASECKI: All right and did this storm change your opinion of Chris Christie?

26:00

NICK WILLEM: Yeah. It showed me that he actually cares. He was down at the firehouse, you know, he shook all the first responder's hands, thanked us for our effortlessly, you know, standing at the firehouse the past, you know, five, six days. You know, it really made me feel comfortable.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and how did you feel about the response from the rest of the country?

NICK WILLEM: It was amazing. There was a lot of out-of-state Christian aid groups that came in with trucks and trailers and like I had said before, with showers and washers and dryers. They came in with lots of food. All the insurance adjusters, a lot were, you know, away from their families, throughout the country, and they had planned to be there through Thanksgiving, So--.

MARY PIASECKI: Did you notice any--I had noticed in the area--Alabama Power 27:00trucks, did you notice any of those?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. We actually dealt with them and not JCP&L or PSE&G. Alabama Power came down, they were the one to pull our meter off the house. They were the one to go over with us, you know, If you're running a generator, just be careful everything that was covered in salt water has a chance of tripping or possibly causing a fire.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how did you feel this response compared to that of Katrina?

NICK WILLEM: I was younger when Katrina happened. I didn't pay attention to the news and the media and all that. From what I had heard, the response was a little slower, they didn't get the aid that we had received, but they were also more devastated than us.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay and how did this compare to other storms you've experienced, like Irene?

NICK WILLEM: Irene, we had zero water near the house. From the firehouse though, 28:00we were launching boats in the middle of one street to rescue people out of their houses.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how has it shaped environmental issues? Does it make you think about changing your viewpoints?

NICK WILLEM: No, not really. There's not much I can do as a sole person. It's really up to everyone else, I guess.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And personally, as far as like the raising of the homes, is there any other precautions you plan to take in the future?

NICK WILLEM: There's really not much you can do. Water is water. It's going to go wherever it wants, it's going to find wherever it wants to go and there's not much you can do to stop it.

MARY PIASECKI: Are you fearful of something of this caliber happening again in the future?

NICK WILLEM: Absolutely, you never know. They say it's a once in a lifetime storm, but Mother Nature's very unpredictable.

29:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, will your mother be forced to raise her home like other Port Monmouth residents are?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. Right now, we are going to be raising the front door another five feet up.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and how long does that process take approximately?

NICK WILLEM: We've been in touch with a company for the past month. We're trying to set up to raise it that way we can get back, get things back to normal.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and have things returned back to quote-unquote normal?

NICK WILLEM: No.

MARY PIASECKI: Are you back in your house or have you moved?

NICK WILLEM: I have moved.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and where have you moved?

NICK WILLEM: Me and my girlfriend have moved across the highway.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and so you're away from the water now, currently?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: All right, and did you plan to move before the storm?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: All right, so did this storm simply speed up the process of moving?

NICK WILLEM: Yes, it did.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And how's the storm affected--is there any changes to your daily life?

NICK WILLEM: Now I have to go by my mother's house, make sure that the heat's 30:00still working. We don't want the pipes to freeze. Make sure we still have running water, make sure the electricity's still on. Make sure nobody has gotten in and vandalized anything or stolen any of the pipes out.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, has this changed your outlook on the community?

NICK WILLEM: Yes. The community really came together with everyone who wasn't affected really stepped up and donated unwanted clothes, donated food, for candles and blankets and stuff like that, to really help out the people that were affected.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And has this changed your political views?

NICK WILLEM: Not so much. I'm not a very big political person. It was good to see that the governor cared enough to stop by in our town, at our firehouse and personally thank us and that's about it.

31:00

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and do you believe Hurricane Sandy impacted the election? The 2012 presidential election?

NICK WILLEM: I don't think so. There were a lot of people who were, I'm sure, that were still unhappy with him. One thing isn't going to change your outlook on someone.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And did Sandy impact your voting experience?

NICK WILLEM: No.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay.

MARY PIASECKI: Do you believe it will impact the 2013 governor election?

NICK WILLEM: I think so.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. Do you believe it'll be for the better for Chris Christie?

NICK WILLEM: Yes.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And what do you believe you're going to tell your children or grandchildren about Hurricane Sandy?

NICK WILLEM: Just the devastation that took place. Things that I saw. People's houses that were just completely missing walls. People's houses that were just off the foundation. Just the complete devastation that one storm brought in.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, and what would you believe the legacy of the storm to be?

32:00

NICK WILLEM: It'll go into the history books and it'll be talked about every time another storm starts to become big and the news media's going to say, Oh, well remember Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay. And if there was a message you wanted to say about the storm, what would it be?

NICK WILLEM: Just don't ever take storms lightly. The news forecasts sometimes are wrong, but sometimes they're right more than often, and you should always be prepared and never take anything for granted.

MARY PIASECKI: Okay, did I miss anything? Is there anything I haven't asked that I should have?

NICK WILLEM: Not that I can think of.

MARY PIASECKI: All right, thank you for your time, Nick.

NICK WILLEM: No problem.

end of interview

0:14 - Nicholas Willem Introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How old are you?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem talks about his home and family in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. He discusses his job and what he likes about living in New Jersey. Attractions to New Jersey. He is asked about where he likes to hang out and where he goes to the beach.

Keywords: Beach; Bills; Down the shore; Family; House; Jersey Shore; Live; Lived; Middletown, New Jersey; Middletown, NJ; New Jersey; NJ; Port Monmouth; Room; Rooms; Sandy Hook; School system; Siblings

Subjects:


GPS: Nicholas Willem's hometown (Middletown, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.396997, -74.093367

2:37 - Community involvement in Port Monmouth

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Partial Transcript:How involved are you in the community?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem mentions things about the community, talks about how his work as a volunteer fire-fighter for the Port Monmouth Fire Company. He also describes the town's school system of Port Monmouth and class profile.

Keywords: Community; Crime; Economic; Fire department; Firefighters; Fireman; Port Monmouth Fire Company; School; School system; Socioeconomic; Volunteer

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth Fire Company (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.430082, -74.098324

3:45 - Before the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:When did you first hear that Hurricane Sandy was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Williem mentions how he prepared for the storm and how he was already prepared for the storm with food. He mentions Governor Christie regarding what he said would happen before the storm. Nicholas talks about the evacuations that occurred before the storm.

Keywords: Cars; Christie; Clothes; Evacuations; Flooding; Governor Christie; Hurricane; Hurricane Sandy; Pets; Prepare; Sandy; Storm

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431363, -74.100169

6:05 - The day of the storm

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Partial Transcript:Where were you at the beginning of the day?

Segment Synopsis: Willem mentions how he couldn't leave his house in the beginning of the day because the water was so high. He discusses what happened when he went back to his house after he was able to leave He discusses the weather during the storm.

Keywords: Aunt; Bed; Cat; Damage; Damages; Destroyed; End of storm; Firehouse; Flooding; Food supplies; Generators; Grandmother; High tide; House; Lost; Mandatory evacuation; Midnight; Mother; News; Power; Power was out; Rainy; Storm; Storm ended; Water; Windy

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431363, -74.100169

9:48 - The day after the storm

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

Segment Synopsis: Willem mentions what his thoughts were the day after the storm. He talks about his concerns after the storm. Willem discusses what he saw when he went outside for the first time after the storm.

Keywords: After the storm; Cars; Cars in street; Contact; Damage; Damages; Debris; Firehouse; Houses; Mold; Mother; No walls; Sleep; Street

Subjects:

11:03 - Damages from the storm

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Partial Transcript:Could you further explain the damages done on your house?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem discusses the damages on his house.

Keywords: Cats; Couches; Damage; Damages; Dressers; House; Houses; Kitchen; Room; Television; TV; Waterlines

Subjects:


GPS: Nicholas Willem's home (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431396, -74.101113

11:37 - Reactions to the storm in Port Monmouth

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How did you get in touch with people around?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem talks about how he got in touch with people after the storm. He discusses peoples reactions to the storm. He mentions that residents of Port Monmouth couldn't get back into the town. He discusses the looting issue that occurred the day after the storm.

Keywords: Car; Cars; Cellphone provider; Emergency food; Firehouse; Firehouse radios; Food; Looters; Looting; Red Cross; Verizon

Subjects:


GPS: Nicholas Willem's home (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431396, -74.101113

13:03 - Issues after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:You were staying at the firehouse, is that correct?

Segment Synopsis: Willem talks about how he stayed at the firehouse for a few nights after the storm. He mentions the power outages gas shortages. Willem mentions his problems with FEMA.

Keywords: After the storm; Debris; Dump trucks; FEMA; Firefighter; Firefighters; Firehouse; Gas shortage; Gut; Help; Helped; Helping; Mail; Mail service; Power companies; Power company; Power outage; Power outages; Sheetrock; Street

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth fire company (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.429960, -74.098297

17:04 - Port Monmouth and government response to the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What was the protocol like, was there curfews in place?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem mentions the problems of recovering after the storm. He talks about how his community coped with the storm. Willem talks the government and community response.

Keywords: Clothes; Community; Community aid; Cops; Curfews; Donating; Donating food; Dusk; Emergency; Evacuate; Evacuation; Evacuation warnings; Federal government; FEMA; Firefighter; Firehouse; Garbage; Generators; Government aid; Gutting; House; Insurance companies; Looters; Looting; Mandatory evacuation; Middletown; Middletown Police; National guard; Police; Religious communities; Religious organizations; Shelters; Streets; Volunteer; Volunteers

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431461, -74.100340

24:23 - Society's reaction to the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Did you believe anyone to be at fault for the storm or was it just a freak occurrence?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem mentions how he thinks that the storm happened. He also discusses the media. He mentions his thoughts on President Obama and Chris Christie. Willem talks about his opinions on the help from the country after the storm. He compares different storms to Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: After the storm; Aid; Alabama Power; Alabama Power trucks; Chris Christie; Environmental issues; Firehouse; First responders; Governor Christie; Hurricane Irene; Hurricane Katrina; Irene; JCP&L; Katrina; Media; Obama; PCE&G; Port Monmouth; Power; Prepare; Prepared adequately; President Obama; Social media; Storm; Thanksgiving; TV

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431461, -74.100340

28:31 - How things have changed since the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:As far as the raising of the homes, is there any other precautions you plan to take in the future?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem talks about the precautions he plans to take in the future. He mentions what has to be done to their house to keep safe for the future. He also says how he moved after the storm. Willem discusses the different ways that his life has changed since the storm.

Keywords: 2012 election; 2013 election; Chris Christie; Communities; Community; Daily life; Donated; Donating; Donating food; Electricity; Firehouse; Future; Governor; Heat; House; Lifestyle; Mother; Outlook; Pipes; Political; Precaution; Presidential campaign; Running water; Stolen; Vandalized; Voting; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431461, -74.100340

31:34 - Legacy of the storm / advice

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What do you believe you're going to tell you children or grandchildren about Hurricane Sandy?

Segment Synopsis: Nicholas Willem discusses what he will tell his future family about the storm. He talks about what the legacy of the storm was. He brings up a message that he would want others to know.

Keywords: Children; Grandchildren; History; Houses; Hurricane Sandy; Legacy; News; No walls

Subjects:


GPS: Port Monmouth, New Jersey (Port Monmouth, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.431461, -74.100340
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