PW's Tara Murtha Visits Her N.J. Hometown After Hurricane Sandy

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 13 | Posted Nov. 2, 2012

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The Klich family has been here for 22 years. “This is my life,” Pat says through tears, gesturing at the pile of water-logged garbage. Her husband defied the township’s evacuation orders and stayed behind in the house. He ran upstairs when the seawater burst through the door, but then realized that he didn’t shut the gas off. “By the time I came back,” he says, “the rip tide was crazy.” The tide yanked him out the door and threw him into a telephone pole across the street. “My back is killing me,” he says. “The water just came up. It was so fast.”

Like many other residents, the Kliches heard that President Obama was here, or is coming. They say they haven’t seen a politician, a newspaper reporter or a disaster relief representative from the outside. The National Guard is there to deter looters.

“Nothing’s being said about this town,” says Stacey Klich, 23, one of the Kliches’ daughters. “I know it’s a small town, but its good people.”

“They’re only talking about the areas that bring in money,” says her sister, Jen.

“I want to say something,” says Pat. “The cops in this town and the first responders in this town, are the bomb … they’re being kind to us, and not nasty. I just wanted to say that in case no one else does.”

“We have more than some people, and we’re going to rebuild,” she adds. “Just someplace else.”

Follow senior writer Tara Murtha on Twitter: @taramurtha

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Comments 1 - 13 of 13
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1. Rachel Raub said... on Nov 2, 2012 at 05:45PM

“I am so sorry to hear about your little town. We live in a small town, Morro Bay, California, and so we know what it means to love a small town. I hope we can find a way to be of some help to Union Beach. They are in our prayers.”

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2. marie percy said... on Nov 2, 2012 at 07:39PM


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3. Anonymous said... on Nov 2, 2012 at 08:25PM

“Thank you for your photos. I found relatives' houses in here. Our thoughts are with everyone there.”

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4. gaby said... on Nov 3, 2012 at 08:12PM

“Let us know how we can help dear friend. We are very sad...there is no words to comfort those who go through this great burden... hugs”

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5. Fordham Hutton said... on Nov 4, 2012 at 06:23PM

“I grew up in Union Beach, my Dad was the Chief of Police and my mother a school teacher for many years. My childhood home was 705 Front St, the one that is yellow with the left side of it missing. I have seen several photos of in featured on new sites. There were many storms when I was growing up, to include Hurricane Donna in 1960, but nothing it seems like this.”

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6. Greg Maund said... on Nov 5, 2012 at 09:24AM

“I grew up in Union Beach but now live near Chicago. Mrs. Hutton was my third grade teacher. Photos of the destruction break my heart. Knowing the strength of the people living there I have no doubt that rebuilding efforts are already underway. Although I physically cannot be there to help, I offer whatever I can to help.”

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7. Jo Ann said... on Nov 8, 2012 at 06:32PM

“I would like to volunteer my time on the weekends to help. Please let me know who I can contact. I'm from Edison, but work in the area. I drove by the destruction and it's heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone...I will try to do what I can to help.”

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8. Linda said... on Nov 8, 2012 at 10:59PM

“I too would like to volunteer. Should I just show up at the Borough Hall? I'm from Warwick, NY.”

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9. Tara Murtha said... on Nov 11, 2012 at 12:32AM

“Please see this post for details on who to contact and where to go to volunteer or donate. Thank you!”

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10. Ed Donnelly said... on Nov 14, 2012 at 05:57PM

“I was back to Union Beach the Saturday after Sandy and had a chance to see the town I grew up in. Never had I seen so much destruction, but as always the people are holding it together. There was no loss of life. The turn out of volunteers was and is great. Thank you to all that spent even a few hours helping.”

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11. Janice said... on Nov 15, 2012 at 01:40PM

“Tara, I feel so bad for you and those you mentioned in the story. You are all in my thoughts.

I have always admired your straight-forward approach to issues of the day, particularly issues that face women. I would love for you to get involved in the saga of CookyJar, an older man who abuses women weekly by publishing degrading photos of them in return for money. They "consent" because of desperation caused by childhood abuse and addiction. I thought of you and how you could interview some of the victims and write an intruiging story. And help get this CookyJar off the streets. See also my remarks in the comments section under this week's cover story:”

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12. Ms. Brown said... on Nov 26, 2012 at 04:48PM

“My class would like to do a fundraiser to help Union Beach. What charities are set up with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs specifically for this area so we may donate money? thanks”

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13. floyd dempsey said... on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:52PM

“hi, i am retired 57 years old from dayton ohio. i have a truck, trailer and too many tools to list, is ther a place to stay while i am work on homes, i can be there a week month or what ever, i just need to come back home for a few days once every few montsh”


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