With no power (save a small generator at home), no water (we have well water), no heat and very limited mobile phone service for over a week, things were a bit taxing and frustrating...after the shock of the enormity of the storm began to wear off.
But with all of that, the dozens of emails, calls and Skype messages I received from friends and clients from all over the world was (and remain) very uplifting. More than anything it let me know that my caring for everyone's vacations...taking it personally, if you will...really does matter. And, to be sure, it has given me a bit of boost to do things even better.
Now, to keep things in perspective, my family has been very lucky. A week of some inconvenience pales in comparison to what is going on around us. Devastation occurred a literal 20 minutes down the road in my old homestowns of Sea Bright and Atlantic Highlands, and in Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, Belmar, Seaside Heights, etc.
It really touches just about everyone around here in some fashion:
- A man I know from a friend's NASCAR parties recently retired and started up a small landscaping business. As he cut up and removed a 35 foot tree from my front yard he mentioned that he just rented his dream home, a small house right on the water in Manasquan. He was able to save his important papers, but now has no clothes and no home.
- I ran into a friend of mine at the local fire house (where we could take a hot shower). He not only didn't have a generator, but his elderly father-in-law's home in Point Pleasant Beach was destroyed and was living with him and his family in a dark, cold, home.
- A friend and client's restaurant still has 10 feet of water in the basement and everything is ruined.
- A friend and client has worked tirelessly to rebuild Asbury Park with an enthusiasm that is contagious and now sees so much of his efforts literally washed away. (I don't know the status of his apartment yet.)
Life goes on. And as one who has lived his life with sand in my shoes, I know that with all of the joy that comes with living on the shore, so do the risks. And the term "Salty Dog" doesn't mean that they those who chose to live there are soft, but rather they are resilient and tough, people.
However, right about now those Salty Dogs (and those that thought they were) could use some help to get themselves back on their feet. So if you feel the desire, need or guilt to donate money (there is enough food and clothing for now and lending a helping hand isn't an option for most), pick a worthwhile charity of your choice that assists the affected communities.
How much to donate? I leave that to you.
But as a bit of encouragement to do so, any client of Goldring Travel (old, present or new) send Goldring Travel a confirmation of your donation and Goldring Travel will match it...up to $100 per family.
Once again: THANK YOU!