Oklahomans Continue To Help More Than Week Since Sandy Landfall

Wednesday, November 7th 2012, 9:18 pm
By: News 9

As a Nor'easter takes aim on New York and New Jersey less than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Oklahomans continue to volunteer and persevere.

Oklahomans have been patching up homes and restoring power to thousands ever since Sandy hit. Now, they're preparing for the wintry storm.

News 9 first spoke with OG&E crews last week as they were making the trek east. At that time, they were not sure what to expect. Ever since, those crews and other volunteers say their work has been cut out for them.

10/31/2012 Related Story: Oklahomans Beware Of Storm-Damaged Vehicles Sold After Hurricane Sandy

"New Jersey people and Oklahoma people are different, but when they're hurting and they're cold … they're very appreciative of what we do, and that keeps our spirits high," OG&E employee Monte Garner said.

With a force of 60, OG&E volunteers made it as far as Tennessee the day Sandy made landfall. The next day, they were making a difference in Maryland and now New Jersey.

One hundred Oklahomans from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are gutting out flooded homes, clearing debris and preparing hot meals for the people of Middletown, New Jersey.

"This community has been incredible," said director Sam Porter. "The mayor has been by here every day."

The volunteers are staying at the local Baptist church. They have their trucks set up at the Catholic Church, and they are working closely with the Episcopalians.

"We're getting a lot of work done," Porter said. "We had the second storm come today, and it rained and snowed, but we worked through the rain and snow."

10/20/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Red Cross Volunteers Respond To Hurricane Sandy

The weather is not dampening their sprits. They are moving forward. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie even stopped by to give them encouragement.

"It brings a tear to your eye," Garner said about the kindness he has been shown. "I get emotional."

The Baptist volunteers are rotating teams. Ten to 14 new volunteers will be in place by this weekend. They say they plan to stay in New Jersey until, at least, the first of December.

Volunteers say the town where most of them are located lost more people during the September 11 attacks than any other New Jersey town.