Editor's note: The following was a response from Bernards Township Committeeman John Malay when asked what he recalled from Sandy's impact on the township on Oct. 29, 2012. Malay had been township mayor the previous year, when Hurricane Irene struck the township in late August 2011, and the October snowstorm also caused tree damage and prolonged power outages on Oct. 29, 2011.
Please add to the comments section below what you remember from Sandy, and what you learned from the experience.
As frightening as it seemed as it headed toward us, the storm actually ended up as one of the most uplifting times of my life.
After nine years on the [Bernards Township] Committee I should not have been surprised to see our staff and volunteers step up the way they did, but watching it unfold was inspirational.
Police, fire, emergency services and DPW [Department of Public Works] were out in the thick of it. After it subsided they and our entire staff pitched in regardless of job description to do what was needed. Our residents endured an uncomfortable and sometimes harrowing situation and somehow found time to help their neighbors and friends. "Community" is an over-used word but in Bernards Township we have one.
It is impossible to really single out individuals in an effort like this but I would mention Mike Shimsky, our OEM head. His dedication was such that at one point Chief Bobowicz had to "firmly suggest" that he go home and get some sleep!
Our Township Clerk, Denise Szabo, and Administrator, Bruce McArthur, mobilized staff, found them space with power to work AND ran a Presidential election! Staff members stood out in the dark and cold at both working polling places and non-working locations to direct voters where they needed to go.
Chris Kyriacou, our head of IT, somehow managed to figure out ways for us to get out the word about blocked streets, water and food supplies, JCP&L announcements, and on and on. His system probably used string, spit, duct tape and baling wire, but it worked!
Finally, I would be remiss without remembering the wonderful staff at the police HQ who kept us fed during those long hours and days. Home away from home!