Sandy Brings Communities Together
By Phil Stilton
Barnegat–When Mayor Mike Reina of Jackson Township was called upon by local residents for assistance in helping locally donated aid to reach communities more affected by Sandy, he made some phone calls and identified local shelters in need throughout Ocean County. One such shelter was King of Kings Church in Manahawkin. The church had been raising donations for families in need in the southern portion of the county.
Jackson Township, which had been spared significant damage by the storm aside from downed trees, minor flooding and power outages, was able to lend a helping hand to other communities. After collecting supplies from the township recreation department and local businesses such as The Karate Dojo, 21 South and the Cardinale Enterprises, Mayor Reina escorted two caravans of supplies from the township to King of Kings with the help of township O.E.M. officials.
On his first visit, he met, for the first time, Barnegat Mayor Alfonso Cirulli who was also on hand helping out. Despite both being Republicans in Ocean County, the two mayors had never met previously.
Cirulli thanked Reina for his township’s generosity and interest in the southern section of the county. Cirulli said that the bay areas of Barnegat had been hit pretty hard and the donations will be put to good use. Cirulli also commended King of Kings and their staff for their generosity and support.
Mayor Reina said he was glad Jackson could help out. The previous day, the Mayor was given a damage assessment flight over Jackson and surrounding areas, which he said gave him inspiration to help other communities hit harder, despite managing a nearly township wide blackout by JPC&L.
Once power began being restored before the impending nor’easter, Reina used his free time helping distribute aid locally and in other towns. Jackson suffered more damage during the nor’easter and another township wide blackout forced him to again direct his attention locally.
“It’s a great thing King of Kings is doing down here, it’s an enormous operation and I’m glad we were able to help, it shows the spirit of the residents of Jackson.” he said.
On election day, Cirulli lost his relection bid by a 5% margin, but that didn’t stop the mayor from continuing his hard work for the residents of Barnegat.
In all, over nine truckloads and trailers of aid collected by the township and Jackson residents was delivered to the southern portion of the county.
Photo: Jackson Mayor Mike Reina (L), Barnegat Mayor Al Cirulli (R) at King of Kings Church in Barnegat; Photo by Phil Stilton.