“We need all the support we can get here,” said Tim Farrell, a Seaside Heights firefighter.
On Sunday the Jersey Shore town, still recovering from the devastation caused by Sandy, received both support and a glimmer of hope, thanks to a visit from Vice President Joe Biden.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” said Kimberle Samarelli of the New Jersey Amusement Association. “It’s great federal support that we need.”
Biden arrived in the state Sunday morning and was greeted by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and others.
Following a helicopter tour over the state's storm-damaged coastline, Biden met with about 50 first responders in Seaside Heights and received a briefing on damage caused by the storm. He'll head to Hoboken later Sunday. He was greeted by 40 volunteer firefighters when he arrived on Sunday.
“He said that he was going to send the cavalry,” said Farrell. “We all like to hear that. That gave us a little boost. I think that’s going to help us a lot.”
“I lost my home and I lost my candy store business in Lavalette so I’m living in Manchester now,” said Chief James Samarelli of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Department.
Biden’s visit was important to the first responders who have been working around the clock since Sandy first hit. Dozens of firefighters lost their homes and there is no gas. Only essential buildings have electricity. For blocks and blocks there is debris and trash piled up. The town’s landmark roller coaster is now in the ocean.
“Once the pictures of the damage are all over and it’s cleaned up, everybody else thinks it’s okay,” said Biden. “This is going to be a long process. This is going to be an expensive process.”
“Tourism is practically the number one industry in this area and it’s what makes our economy strong,” said Samarelli. “That’s what we need. We need that support to restore, rebuild and reopen.”