The following letter was submitted by Arthur Pennell, president of Toms River PBA No. 137.
The members of the Toms River PBA No. 137 would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of those who assisted our community during Hurricane Sandy and the devastation, which followed the storm. We would like to recognize the efforts of the local, state, out of state law enforcement agencies, and the State PBA whose assistance was critical in assisting us in rescues of not only our citizens but also citizens in neighboring communities. Their presence, also enabled us to return to our normal law enforcement duties to the community, far sooner than would have been possible without their assistance.
We would also like to commend all the volunteer organizations, in particular first aid and fire, for their dedicated service to our community. Even though some of these organizations lost use of their buildings and emergency equipment during the storm and many of their members were homeless or suffered severe damage to their homes and possessions, they worked tirelessly around the clock. They conducted countless rescues and evacuations, all the while continuing their normal duties of responding to fires, car accidents, etc. Their selfless service to our community should not be forgotten.
We would also like to recognize the Toms River Township Public Works and the Toms River School System for their efforts during and after the storm. During the storm, Public Works assisted with rescues and evacuations in locations, which were impassable to normal vehicles. Also they immediately began clearing roadways of debris, which enabled emergency vehicles to enter neighborhoods to answer emergency calls, and also enabled residents to leave for safer areas.
The Toms River School System was instrumental in the evacuation of residents to safety, particularly from the barrier island. Their transportation department made countless transports of evacuees from storm ravaged areas to shelter.
The schools themselves served as shelters for thousands of people who were left homeless after the storm and without the school system’s cooperation and assistance, this would not have been possible.
Finally and most importantly, we would like to thank you, the residents of Toms River. During a time when many had lost all, their compassion towards each other and us was truly incredible. The patience and understanding exhibited by our citizens, at probably one of the most trying times of their lives, was extraordinary. Our members were humbled by the countless residents and business owners who would drop off a coffee, something to eat or gave a heartfelt "thanks" as they passed by the numerous checkpoints set up in neighborhoods, which had been severely impacted by the storm.
The rumors of rampant looting and violence had many gripped in fear for weeks. But the truth of the matter, is that we saw much more of neighbor helping neighbor than neighbor turning on neighbor. If we, as a community, handle the recovery together, as well as we did the storm itself, we have nothing to fear.
Again on behalf of the officers and members of Toms River PBA No. 137, we would like to thank you for your kindness during this most trying of times.
Toms River PBA 137