It was six years ago when people piled onto the Sea Bright municipal parking lot to get and give help in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Chris Wood, owner of Woody’s, Fair Haven resident and RFH Class of ’78 alum, started Sea Bright Rising. The U.S. Army National Guard officers packed themselves in Sea Bright. People brought supplies from all over. A frequent visitor was former NJ Gov. Chris Christie. And former Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl was on the peninsula often to help out.
Lists of what would be needed for the next round of meals served to displaced Sea Bright residents were circulated. People walked across the closed Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge bringing supplies and offering comfort and help to neighbors. There were National Guard tents and trucks. It looked like a war zone. It was. Sea Bright residents were escorted to their homes to retrieve any personal items that survived the storm. Things were grim and very dark at night. The curfew was in effect and it wasn’t because it was Halloween.
The Retro Pic of the Day, courtesy of Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, is a look back at the start of rebuilding an almost completely flattened Sea Bright with some hot meals, toiletries and clothes. The sand was still in the parking lot and the street, buildings were completely washed out, some still standing, others not.
“Wow, five years ago,” Mayor Ekdahl said last year on a Facebook post accompanied by this photo and referring to all the change since. Sea Bright is still rebuilding. Sea Bright Rising has disbanded.
Six years doesn’t seem so long ago. Some are still not back in their homes. Some business buildings have relocated, closed, been demolished or are still rebuilding.
Donovan’s Reef returned last year. The Mad Hatter is on its way to a rebuild after much controversy. The Sea Bright Library is on its way back with a community center and public beach headquarters added. The old school building is gone. Some houses are still rising. What a difference one storm and six years make to a small peninsula on the Jersey Shore.