On June 29th, 2012 a major thunderstorm made its way across a third of the country, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than a million people.
The damage from this storm in Cumberland County, New Jersey and Atlantic County, New Jersey was severe and wide-spread. Tens of thousands of trees crushed roofs and cars, blocked roads and driveways, and downed power lines. Southern New Jersey was by no means the only place affected by this massive storm.
About one week after the storm, the Offices of Emergency Management for Cumberland and Atlantic Counties asked members of the New Jersey Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to assist with clean-up and tree-removal efforts. In particular, they requested help on behalf of senior citizens and disabled individuals who could not otherwise clean up downed trees. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participates in New Jersey VOAD.
Under the direction of Ahmad Corbitt, President of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake (a stake is similar in size to a Catholic diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more than 700 Mormon Helping Hands, about one dozen UMCOR volunteers, and several Boy Scouts and Comcast Employees from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania enthusiastically donated 4,859 hours to Southern New Jersey senior citizens. Volunteers responded to 314 requests, and saved New Jersey senior citizens an estimated half-million dollars (~$529,000) in tree removal expenses.
This Google Earth animation illustrates the extent of the service Mormon Helping Hands volunteers provided, between July 15, 2012 and August 25, 2012.
Mormon Helping Hands volunteers worked in coordination with the Cumberland County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management; the Atlantic County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Preparedness; New Jersey 2-1-1; the United Methodist Church's UMCOR volunteer organization; the Boy Scouts of America; Comcast employees; the New Jersey VOAD; the New Jersey Governor's Office on Volunteerism; and the Emergency Management departments of several cities and townships in the Garden State.
About The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the "Mormon Church") is a Christ-centered faith with more than 14 million members worldwide. Mormon Helping Hands is a Church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need. Members of the church are encouraged to volunteer in the community. The Church will soon open the new Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple.
Although it is impossible to recognize the hundreds of people who have worked on this project (several of whom worked upwards of 100 hours over 10 weeks), we express gratitude to the following organizations and individuals who made special or organizing contributions to this effort:
— The dedicated volunteers of —
Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake, Mormon Helping Hands
Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake Youth, Mormon Helping Hands
United Methodist Church, UMCOR
Wilmington Delaware Stake, Mormon Helping Hands
East Brunswick New JerseyStake, Mormon Helping Hands
Morristown New Jersey Stake, Mormon Helping Hands
Paterson New Jersey District, Mormon Helping Hands
Scotch Plains New Jersey Stake, Mormon Helping Hands
— With Special thanks to — Andy Zmuda, Incident Captain, Mormon Helping Hands
Joe Sever & Jim Manski, OEM Cumberland County, New Jersey
Ed Conover, OEM, Atlantic County, New Jersey
Laura Zink Marx & Staff, New Jersey 2-1-1
Carol Brozosky, UMCOR New Jersey
Cathy McCann, New Jersey VOAD
Rowena Madden, New Jersey Governor's Office on Volunteerism
Jennifer Titus, Angelic and Supportive Wife