BROOMALL–With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it’s easy to forget that less than two months ago parts of our region were devastated by “Superstorm Sandy.”
But as Broomall resident and Devon Prep sophomore Michael Knudson learned recently, “It’s not even close to being over.” Knudson drove two hours on a recent Saturday morning to volunteer in Sea Bright, NJ, the southern half of a barrier beach which is the Sandy Hook Peninsula.
The small town in Monmouth County is a little more than an hour from New York City. And like many of the beach towns in New Jersey, Sea Bright sustained terrible damage and destruction as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
When he heard that his church youth group was planning to travel to Sea Bright to help with the clean-up, Knudson thought it would be a good way to earn service hours (required by Devon Prep), and participate in an activity that could make a big impact.
“It actually didn't look that bad when we first got there,” he said. “But as we moved along the beach there was a lot of damage. There were a lot of collapsed buildings and wreckage and there was sand everywhere. The street we were on was a mess. There were no buildings intact. There was sand all over the sidewalks, all along and inside the houses, things like that. There were random objects scattered around. I wasn’t surprised that it was that damaged. I was surprised that it still hadn’t been cleaned up. There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Knudson and the three other young men from his church group–Christian Youth Federation (CYF) of Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church of Havertown–were assigned to digging and clearing sand from a critical walkway between two badly affected homes. The homes were to be demolished but the sand had become an obstacle.
They dug sand all day, placed it in wheel barrows, moved it to the street where front end loaders later came and moved it to a bigger depository area. They had a 45 minute break for lunch where they ate a hot meal in military tents set up by the National Guard.
“It was kind of daunting because by the end of the day we only cleared out this one walkway,” Knudson said. “It was probably 20 feet long with 2 feet of sand and it took us the entire day. I felt a sense of accomplishment when it was done.”
The Broomall resident explained that he works on various service projects throughout the year with CYF and Devon Prep. Although this project required a four-hour round trip drive as well as a lot of physical labor he enjoyed working with his friends and completing a task that would help in the next step of the clean-up. Knowing that the process will take a long time, Knudson said he’d like to help again if the opportunity should arise.
“None of the homes were untouched, but you could tell there were some that had been fixed up and they almost looked back to normal,” Knudson said. “But there is still a lot of debris around them and things like that. It’s not over. It’s not even close to being over. I think they need volunteers and money to help. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to clean it up.”
This press release was provided by Devon Prep.