by Brad Korten
As a “Jersey Boy,” I am used to people poking fun at my state. We are the butt of many jokes, from the type of people who live in our state, to the mob, to the “Jersey Shore” cast, even to how we smell. I frankly don’t mind these jokes because, despite what people say, I know that New Jersey is a great state.
I am proud of my state and the people who make it that way. It breaks my heart to see the condition New Jersey is in, even a month after Hurricane Sandy.
When I went back to New Jersey for Thanksgiving, I got to see some of the damages first hand. Originally, I thought my town had survived with little damage. The majority of people, including my parents, lost power for just a little over a week and not much else. However, as I drove around my town I saw branches, garbage and debris still everywhere along the streets and people’s property. I saw trees and sidewalks uprooted and some damages to houses. One of my good friends’ home has a tree crashed on top of its roof; some of the upstairs rooms are right now unlivable.
As I drove through neighboring towns, especially closer to the shore line, I saw the damage get worse. I couldn’t believe what happened; I never thought a storm like this could come where I live and damage so many lives, including the people closest to me. I did what I could while there; I donated blankets and food and talked to people about where I can help out during winter break.
As a political science major, it is nice to see that politics doesn’t have to play a role in everything as all sides come together to rebuild our state. And yes, even as a Democrat, I am proud to say I am thankful for the leadership of Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama.
I want to thank those who have led the relief effort from the top of government to the community level. The work I saw being done is incredible. Everyone is donating money, sending supplies and removing debris from hard-hit areas.
I also want to thank everyone at AU who has helped out in any way with the relief effort in not only New Jersey, but in New York and the rest of the tri-state area.
I know we all have a favorite New Jersey joke. But I’m happy to know that in times like this, those were just jokes, and we can come together to help rebuild the region. Though there is still work needed to be done, I know with the support we are getting we will come back stronger than ever. We are Jersey Strong!
Brad Korten is a senior in the School of Public Affairs.