This past year Stafford Township suffered the direct impact of the most severe hurricane to ever strike New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy tested the resourcefulness of our citizens and community. However, this “Mega-Storm” also showed the world the ingenuity and generosity of our citizens and neighbors. The physical damage to property and infrastructure is significant, many of our residents lost everything and many others had major property damage. Our Township will rebuild and will continue to be an example of teamwork and accomplishments.
Much needs to be said about our pre-storm preparations, the establishment of properly prepared and staffed evacuation shelters, and the numerous specialized equipment located here in advance of the storm. Our Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was set-up, operating and tracking the Storm. They were continuously monitoring and developing plans for every contingency, operating around the clock. These men and women coordinated with the Island Towns, planned all evacuation efforts, and maintained a smooth and efficient process prior to, during and after the storm. It was this teamwork of police, fire and all emergency first responders working as one single unit that assured the safety of all of our citizens.
Our pre-storm preparations included the significant work by our Department of Public Works, cleaning out all storm-drain inlets and basins throughout the Township prior to the storm. We also lowered the level of our lakes and basins to allow more freeboard and capacity to handle the additional runoff generated by the storm. These advance preparations were successful in eliminating potential flooding further inland in those areas previously known to flood during major storms.
I have also been overwhelmed with the generosity of our community, businesses, and others from all over the Country who donated so much to help those who lost so much. The numbers of volunteers who stepped up to work at our shelters and in numerous capacities throughout our Town is an example of what a real Community is about.
Hurricane Sandy is now in the History books as the most devastating storm to make a landfall along our coast. Although the storm has passed we now have to get through the difficult process of rebuilding and staying together helping neighbors, we need to continue working as a Community to clean-up, rebuild, and make Stafford Township better than ever and again be the best place to live, raise children and retire.
Stafford Township is a unique and special place to live with a strong sense of community and great pride in who we are. It is that pride, and our appreciation of the richness of our history that enables us to face an exciting future full of opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with you the people of Stafford Township so that together we can meet these challenges and overcome all obstacles to an even brighter future.
Stafford Township has so much to offer from our numerous parks and recreation opportunities, to shopping, and a quality school system. Our geographic location in close proximity to Long Beach Island, Barnegat Bay, Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New York assure our residents quick access to a variety of metropolitan areas while living in a quiet suburban atmosphere.
I remain committed to changing the way our government does business. It is time for government to look at all the options available and to focus on new and innovative ways to address issues, rather than simply throwing money at the problem. It is more important than ever for government to be responsible to the people, think outside the box, and be ever mindful that we are keepers of a sacred trust, the welfare of our citizens.
I believe that we derive our strength as a community from the people in our community and that continues to be proven by events that pull all of us together.
I am optimistic about the future of Stafford Township, and excited to be able to move forward with new approaches to existing problems. I am also thrilled by the enthusiastic responses I have been receiving from our citizens, the County, the State, and Mayors from our surrounding towns. As we experienced through hurricane Sandy many of these problems do not recognize boundaries on a map, we are all in this together, and together we can all find solutions.