College of New Jersey keeping Sandy history from slipping away

 Before the summer season following Superstorm Sandy, the Seaside Heights boardwalk was rebuilt from its northern limit to the Funtown Pier. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, file)

Before the summer season following Superstorm Sandy, the Seaside Heights boardwalk was rebuilt from its northern limit to the Funtown Pier. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, file)

The College of New Jersey has put together a databank full of personal accounts about Superstorm Sandy. The catalog includes stories from first responders to meteorologists.

The project is called Hurricane Sandy Oral History Project. Spearheading the project is history professor Matthew Bender. He began the project in 2013 with one person’s story. Now, there are 66 published, and he hopes for 100 by the end of June.

“The goal is to create a permanent collection of narratives that are available for future generations,” Bender said. He says these narratives will stand the test of time so “people can get a sense of what the storm meant in the lives of the people who experienced it.”

On the website you can find many touching stories. Mike Carbone kept his Beachcomber Bar and Grill open during Sandy because he “didn’t think the storm was going to be that bad.” Carbone says that he misses the friendly faces of those who moved away because they can’t afford to rebuild.

Toms River Director of Public Works Louis Amoruso says another major storm could be just as hazardous because “the biggest thing is our susceptibility to the natural disasters.” As a first responder, Amoruso piled up sand on the dunes to try to hold back the storm.

Professor Matthew Bender says that people felt an enormous amount of relief after sharing their story and they will continue to chronicle these important experiences.

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