The Manalapan Mayor and Township Committee officially thanked over 450 people, businesses, agencies and organizations for their help within the community during and after Hurricane Sandy.
An overwhelming number of official Township proclamations were handed out at the Township Committee meeting Wednesday night as Mayor Susan Cohen read off the names of the people who contributed during the storm.
Cohen said a special thank you to Eric Friedland of Wegmans in Manalapan, which was extremely helpful and generous during the unprecedented storm.
“Wegmans went above and beyond. Whatever we needed, whenever we needed it, Eric was there for us and Wegmans was there for us,” Cohen said. “Not only did they give our volunteers and others food, but they also allowed us to distribute the flyers to let the residents know what was happening in the town for those that didn’t have any other way of knowing, and I understand that that has never been done before.”
After the storm, Cohen and Township Committeeman Ryan Green stood at Wegmans and handed out over 1,000 flyers with information about how the Township was handling the effects of Sandy. Additionally, Green and Manalapan police officers stood at Wegmans the day before and answered residents’ questions about power outages and safety.
Cohen also said a special thank you to New Jersey 101.5 for allowing her to go on the air after the storm to broadcast details and updates about the Township. She appeared on various 101.5 shows throughout the day. Ray Rossi, who hosts The Late Show on 101.5, accepted the proclamation from the Mayor on behalf of the other radio personalities who had her on their show.
The Mayor also thanked the Tommy G Show, an internet radio show run by Manalapan resident Tommy G, for letting her on whenever he could.
Jennifer Sutera, the Manalapan representative of the Freehold Regional High School District, accepted a proclamation on behalf of Superintendent Charles Sampson for the use of Manalapan High School to shelter residents.
Dr. John Marciante, Superintendent of the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District, was thanked for his help in lending Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School as a shelter and for donating buses to transport people to the shelters. These buses helped bring Manalapan, Freehold, and Howell residents to the shelters.
Cohen got her own list of thank you’s from her colleagues and residents Wednesday night, as well. Committeeman Jordan Maskowitz called Cohen a “true leader” and Committeeman Andrew Lucas called her “awe-inspiring” for all of her tireless work after Sandy.
“Mayor Cohen, she’s left footprints and blazed trails that is going to be near impossible for anyone who continues in this position,” Deputy Mayor Holland said.
A group of Covered Bridge residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and offered their heartfelt gratitude to the Mayor and Committee for helping their community after the storm. Covered Bridge is a senior citizen community that is strictly run on electricity. Volunteers from Manalapan sports clubs came every day to bring food to the residents and lights and water were also brought to the Covered Bridge Clubhouse.
During the storm, over 4,000 phone calls lit up the phones at the Manalapan Township Municipal Building and all of the calls were answered as the Mayor asked that the voicemail box be disabled and someone man the phones at all times.
The Township did Reverse 911 calls, reached out to all Special Needs residents that are registered with the Township, kept in constant contact with JCP&L representatives, and attempted to get information to residents through phone calls, Facebook posts, text messages, emails, flyers and going on the radio.
Cohen stayed at the Manalapan Township Municipal Building during the storm and said that the administration worked until all of Manalapan Township residents had power on Nov. 11.
“The one thing that I can’t get out of my head is that you never went home,” Manalapan resident Susan Hergenrother said to Cohen. “To me, as a resident, as a mother, as just someone who like everyone else was trying to survive through that, knowing that the one person that we are supposed to have on our side doing work on our behalf in addition to all of the people that were helping you, and thank you to you all, you were relentless.”
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