On Friday November 9, 2012, me and some friends of mine took off for New Jersey to do some Superstorm Sandy relief work. Murray Pickard, Mike and Brad Rohman, and myself headed out in Mike’s Honda Pilot with a trailer attached borrowed from his brother. We loaded that trailer with chainsaws, wheel barrows, and other implements of destruction we thought we needed for the week we were scheduled to be there. We found out we were going to be doing work with Montgomery Evangelical Free Church (1) in Belle Mead, New Jersey. Murray attended there for a few months and even went on a mission’s trip with them, so this seemed like a perfect fit for us and just one of God’s Blessings. We drove straight thru and arrived about 8 am Saturday morning and met with their Youth Pastor and our main contact for the week, Eric Couch, at his home. Our goal was to serve members of the Montgomery church and their neighbors in the communities surrounding the church.
At our first area of work we were greeted by a road block. The trees in the Princeton Township that came down during the storm hit power lines. These residents have been without power for ten days or so. At the first few houses we must have cut up 20 trees or so because there were so many behind these houses. Princeton Township has a rule that you are not allowed cut trees down, but since these trees were leaning on others, they were considered already down, so a cutting we went. We had a group of about 20 or so join us on Saturday from a couple of churches in Pennsylvania, so a lot of work was done that day. We were treated to a lunch of some great local pizza. That was best pizza we had while we were there.
We were also blessed to have some great accommodations for our stay in Jersey. A church member let us stay in her condo that was her mother’s place before she passed last year. Good showers, heat, and laundry were a joy to us. Ask us more about other stories of the condo.
Sunday we went to church at Montgomery EFC and enjoyed presentations from missionaries. Murray got to see a few people he remembered and they greeted us all warmly. We enjoyed a restful afternoon with Eric and a beautiful dinner at one of the Deaconess’ house.
Monday sent us back to work on the endless trees in the PrincetonTownship area. We were happy to see most of the residents with power at this time. We stacked lots of wood in the back of the one house. It was all hauled away by Wednesday and Mike went back later in the week to see the amazing difference.
A new Mike, the band guy from Chicago, joined us for a few days before he did some benefit shows in New York. Visit his band Fathom Blue’s website (2) if you can. From Tuesday to lunch on Wednesday we worked on some yards that had minor tree damage. We were able to make many homeowners happy with our cutting and removal of their fallen trees.
On Wednesday afternoon, we arrived at the place where we would finish the week. There were probably 8-10 50 foot pine trees that fell on top of each other in a row. Our goal was to get them down. I believe we accomplished that goal by the end of Friday. One of our friends form Saturday (another Mike) joined us on Thursday with a buddy as Mike (band guy) was on to New York and Mike (Rohman) was taking TouchGlobal’s leader down to the Headquarters in Southern New Jersey. On Friday Eric helped out with his daughter along with a member of the church youth who just happened to live next door to the house we were working on. A bunch of youth was scheduled to come out Saturday and help clean up all the wood we cut down.
It was kind of an amazing week. I already told you about our lodging provided to us. Most of our food was also given. I would like to thank Eric, Doug, and the Deaconesses of Montgomery EFC who provided a bountiful harvest during the week. We also made it to one of Princeton’s favorite food joints, Hoagie Haven, (3) one night. It was fun to see what kind of food that can be stuffed in between two slices of bread.
We left after another hearty dinner Friday night and we arrived back to our families safely Saturday the 17th about mid afternoon. There was a lot of good work done that week and friends were made. I look forward to seeing those I met again.