Toms River Schools bid farewell to Irene and guests
A message from the Toms River Regional Schools
The Jersey Shore experienced Hurricane Irene this past weekend. Over 600 people, who had been required to evacuate their homes, sought refuge in three Toms River Regional schools that had been designated as official public shelters.
Over three hundred people sought refuge in the Arena at High School North where they were assisted by the Red Cross. Another three hundred people sought refuge at Intermediate North and High School East, which were run by Ocean County Office of Emergency Management and staffed by Toms River Regional personnel and supported by Toms River Township.
All three of our shelters were pet friendly. In addition to our human guests, we welcomed approximately twelve dogs, ten cats, two birds and a hermit crab. All of our guests and their pets were sheltered, fed and cared for by many volunteers from Toms River Regional schools., CERT, and CART.
Preparations started with a series of emergency management meetings held during the days before the storm arrived. The preparations continued with constant inter-agency cooperation as the storm intensified and evacuations were ordered. Toms River Regional¹s Director of Transportation, Margaret Donnelly, served as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the district as well as the site supervisor at Intermediate North. With the support of the Superintendent and the Board of Education, Margaret coordinated the opening of the shelters and continued to manage the many facets of the operation over the 48-hour event. The following people deserve special thanks.
Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher, OEM Coordinator John Wilton and Deputy Coordinator John Daley, Toms River Police Chief Mike Mastronardy and all the Toms River Township police and Class I officers, Director of Food Service, Peter Brattan, who opened two additional kitchens in a matter of hours along with Sue, Pat and their staff for preparing the food, assisting with special needs and proving comfort to so many evacuees with their great coffee!
Special thanks Eileen Dancer and all the amazing Toms River Regional bus drivers, all the members of CERT for providing invaluable support, Chuck the evacuee who became a valuable member of our volunteer staff at IN, Thanks to Boy Scout Troop 36, Director of Facilities Mark Wagner and his dedicated team of custodial foreman and staff that worked continuously
in changing conditions, CART who took great care of all our pet evacuees, Shawn Smith from the Patch who reported and volunteered at HSE and WOBM¹s Tom Mongelli and team for keeping everyone informed on the storm and the shelter options, Site Supervisors Bob Cassidy (Arena) and Tammi Millar (HSE).
We appreciate the hospitality of school principals Anne Baldi, Lynn Fronzak, and Ed Keller. We would also like to thank all the people who showed up just to help including Lauren Barbieri, Bill and Darlene, who celebrated her 60th birthday with us while learning how to use her new iPhone and our Class I officers at HSE (Chris, Renee, Anthony, Jason) that pitched in to open that shelter in record time. To everyone else who dedicated themselves to our community, we couldn¹t have done this without you and we thank you for your time and your efforts!
Thank you to all of our evacuees for your cooperation, sharing your pets, your kids and your personal stories with us. We especially thank BJ¹s Toms River for donating so many warm blankets!
Many people who worked during this storm will join us in saying: Good night Irene!
visit www.trschools.com for more information and photos.