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Officials: Lacey Will Eventually Return to a 'Normal Life'

Lacey's volunteer emergency services responded to more than 300 assignments during Hurricane Sandy; 60 lives were saved

Lacey’s volunteer emergency services responded to more than 300 assignments during Hurricane Sandy, Deputy Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Resetar said at Thursday’s Committee meeting.

“You just can’t match them,” Committeeman Dave Most said of the volunteers. Much of the meeting was spent thanking those workers.

The majority of Lacey’s residents heeded the township’s mandatory evacuation request, Resetar said. Approximately 7,000 residents were evacuated to county shelters.

“Because of that, I think countless lives were saved,” he said.

But, as part of those 300 assignments, along with the police department and public works, 60 lives were saved, he said.

The Dive Team alone did 30 calls, more than they’ve done in three years, Resetar said.

“It’s not just a call. They were over there heads with water in town and out of town,” he said. “We were dispatching them to structure fires in Berkeley Township where the only way they can get to these fires were with our guys on boat. They were only going in looking for survivors at that point.”

The Bamber Lake Fire Department alone made 65 responses during the height of the storm, he said.

Public Works and the Recreation Department also assisted. Recreation Director Jim Wioland dispatched buses to help with evacuations. Employees of the Public Works department took a resident in a wheel chair out of a second story window with a bucket loader, Resetar said.

“We had all hands on deck and we got through it,” he said.

And Resetar was the one coordinating it all, Mayor Mark Dykoff said.

“No one could have imagined what we were in for. From day one to day, I don't know how many...there was Mr. Resetar, controlling things, staying calm, communicating with the county. This township is forever in your debt," Dykoff said.

Once the storm subsided, the Lacey United Methodist Church as well as the community as a whole was right there to help, Dykoff said. The church “filled in a gap.”

“Lacey is definitely the best,” Pastor Linda Applegate of the Lacey United Methodist Church said. She thanked the volunteers and restaurant owners who have been donating supplies and food.

The church has trained more than 400 disaster teams that helped at more than 200 homes ripping carpet, taking down sheet rock, moving belongings to the curb and offering support to the community, she said.

“It was great to see people working together for a cause much bigger than themselves,” Committeeman Sean Sharkey said.

Approximately 9,000 meals have been served with the help of all the restaurants in town, she said.

“It’s been truly a divine intervention. I just praise God and thank all the people of Lacey,” Applegate said.

Committeeman Gary Quinn lives in an area that was hit by the storm surge. The next morning groups from the church were in the neighborhood offering food.

“Just having people come out like they did made them feel like they weren’t forgotten out there,” he said.

The church is currently looking for ways to partner with laundromats to get vouchers for those families who are displaced and have a plethora of additional expenses since the storm struck, she said. She added that she would like to see the old Rite Aid used as a temporary shelter for multiple families that were displaced.

Applegeate is also hoping to connect with those who are still stranded and uninterested in going to the church for assistance.

“I’m concerned about their physical well-being, mental well-being as well as their spiritual well-being,” she said.

As time goes on, the township will re-evaluate its procedures and actions that were carried out during Hurricane Sandy.

“We have to consider this a learning tool because moving forward we have to become more self sufficient,” Quinn said.

Most agreed. “There’s many things we’ll be discussing in the future in this town to improve things,” he said. “We’ll get back…and I think eventually we’ll come back to a normal life.”

makemyday November 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Thank you to all volunteers, lacey oem, police, fire dept., and the churches that help and continue to help during this crisis. I also want to thank the linemen who continue to work around the clock to get power to everyone. Its dangerous work and you are appreciated. Thanks
Pat Harrington November 09, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I agree dont forget comcast and verizon
JOHNNY Done it November 10, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I agree the the first responders did a great job..As for the OEM in this town how about getting some federal dollars & install a generator at the high school so we can use that as a shelter or place of transfer or meeting placed for our displaced residents..Instead of sending them out of town ..The TWP OEM dropped the ball here...
JOHNNY Done it November 10, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I would also like thank the people at Lacey united methodist church for all there work They didnt fill in the gap They took ANY displaced residents in fed them & gave them a warm place to stay ..GREAT JOB TO ALL (Maybe Mr resitar should go there for pointers on How to operate a in town shelter. Since OEM did not provide one in town.) Maybe they would put a generator to very good use
patricia doyle November 10, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I agree. The first responders went above and beyond. We can't thank them enough. Now the job of digging in and rebuilding begins. To that end, there are many people in this town without flood insurance, who need to speak with FEMA. They are very confused as to who to call, what number to call, what information to have ready. The Community Hall needs to be set up with FEMA representatives who can handle these informational needs and help residents register their claims.
Ann November 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM
FEMA will be in Lacey at the Recreation Department. The town is waiting for them to arrive. Even FEMAs community relation personnel are waiting for the Disaster Recovery Personnel to arrive. They will have office space in town at Recreation
Tom November 10, 2012 at 02:31 PM
@JOHNNY done it. They can't just install a generator anywhere we want to and obviously the money has to come from somewhere. It is an involved process and one that certainly is no means a lack of planning by Mr. Resetar. He only took over the position a few months ago and already secured 100k in grant monies for the twp. His planning and preparedness for all members of the township kept everyone safe. I am sure this tragedy will have a silver lining for the twp with aid and future grants.
Mimi Neuhaus November 11, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The rumor mill has FEMA using Community Hall Tuesday and Wednesday. Is this true?
patricia doyle November 11, 2012 at 01:08 AM
FEMA was at United Methodist today.
Richard Skinner November 11, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Just a thought.. The school has solar energy that we paid so much to install. I just wonder if the school could have stayed open with that alone?
John November 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM
@Tom; I'm an ex-member of one of the squads got tired of the BS & Lacey Township was told years ago by another ex-member of lacey squad (who was some ex-high level position with red cross & also helps trains OEM people) that this town was unprepared for a major storm. He brought it up in squad meetings, told the council things had to be done to bring the township up to date, he talked about the High School can be used as a shelter & that there was a lot of grant money around to do it to get the generator. The attitude was either it wasn't a worry because, we don't get hit by storms or because, it was coming from him. He wanted to start a CERT team if I remember right & was told we don't need it & for this storm they could have been a great asset as they were in many other towns in this state. The water front in Lacey should have been evacuated sooner then they did. You don't decide to order it in the middle of it. My friend still has the message on his phone from the order. Most of the towns around us ordered it a day in advance. A plan should have been in place regarding seniors & according to reports a 94 year old woman died. The ball was dropped in many ways & the OEM really needs to be rebuild & rebuild with people who have the correct training to begin with, some experence in one way or another, not just people that are part of the click/good-ole-boy network and the applacation process should be open to all to apply..., unlike how Bob was chosen good-ole-boy.
John November 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
continue 2: In closing a few I talked to in the squads since the storm, the fire service and many residents all feel the same our residents should never had to have leave our town or county (some as far as Burlington County College) to go to a shelter when we could have done it here and provided by the town. Thank god though we did have the church but, still the town should have had a better plan in place and all..., heck they don't even have a plan on how to deal with animals and because, of the BS with Pop Corn park Zoo and this BS animal control contract we have Pop Corn wasn't permitted to aid in animal rescue.
John November 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM
@Richard..., no because I don't think the school as a battery to store the power. Its rare nowadays to have a storage battery on new installs.
John November 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I will agree that the First Responders did a great job and after reading and seeing how other towns OEM performed in other towns and this town I agree they once again dropped the ball big time!! ONE LIFE IS TO MANY TO HAVE BEEN LOST!!!
Ann November 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM
FEMA is planning to use the recreation department by town hall. Not community hall.
Ann November 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Popcorn park zoo can aid in rescuing animals in Lacey, they choose not to. Berkeley doesn't use them either and they helped Berkeley out. It is all about the money.
Giant fan November 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
John, Most if not all the residents who evacuated went to either Toms River, Stafford, Jackson or as close as . The latter being set up very quickly jointly with the Red Cross Lacey and Berkely. In light of the situation don't you think it is a minor inconvenience to have to go a short ( or long ) distance to ensure safety and pool county resources to help as many people as possible. Please keep in mind that the cost to set up a shelter in Lacey for the sake of convenience would have to be paid for. Having said that if grants could be secured and aid can be acquired from the county I think it would be great to have a fully operational shelter in Lacey. I hope you would be first in line to help operate it.
4Liberty November 11, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Why do they need a generator the BOE installed solar panels on the high school roof $20,000,000 and there was no power? :)
JOHNNY Done it November 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM
THE OEM could have applied the last storm,,It is a large safe building with ample parking for staging..It could have been job one on the list & it was not ..The local responders would have acted with or without him just another good ole boy position . If your listening to a scanner you would have figured out county was dispatching emergency services not oem OEM should have gotten the proper assistance & started a shelter in our town ...I dont know where the money they got in a grant went to?
JOHNNY Done it November 12, 2012 at 03:05 AM
the battery storage is very expensive & would need a classroom to store the batteries , High maintance ,Once the grid goes down the solar panels are set to go down
JOHNNY Done it November 12, 2012 at 03:09 AM
The shelter can be used to transfer residence or used to outside agency if need be to have assets close to the problem considering the area is lacking motel space for emergency crews out state , hence a better response to the problem or disaster..
JOHNNY Done it November 12, 2012 at 03:59 AM
IF we had a shelter in town the OEM can request The red cross operations & FEMA would be staged there . Help would have closer & quicker But since that didnt happen the red cross was at the church on lacey road..When you lost most of your property convenience becomes a necessity dont you think? By the way I was out there helping,,,,,
patricia doyle November 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Agreed. I called Popcorn for help with my neighbor, who left his four cats in his house during the storm. We saw them after the storm (or at least some of them) when we looked in his windows. They were covered with mud. They could have died. They were finally rescued, but not due to the efforts of Popcorn. Very disappointed with them.
BeachMomma November 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Can anyone confirm that Popcorn Park took in their animal(s)? Surely if they are now asking for donations, they housed as many animals as they could during Sandy.

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