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Neighbors Help Each Other as Town Works to Rebuild

Residents assisting others in need as Bridgewater deals with impacts of Sandy.

What Bridgewater is lacking in electricity three days after Superstorm Sandy touched down in New Jersey, it has made up for in generosity.

Throughout the township, businesses and residents themselves have been lending a hand to others in moving trees, housing those without power and just providing assistance where needed.

Donna Epstein Lajeunesse said on the Bridgewater Patch Facebook page that two trees hit her house on Papen Road during the storm.

"Our plumber who lives in Martinsville, Delbula Plumbing, came over with friends and chainsaws to help clear the property," she said. "A really stand-up guy."

And then, Lajeunesse said, when her roof was damaged, three of her neighbors brought spare shingles from their own sheds to plug up holes from one of the trees.

"The painter down the road offered to supply us with his tarps to cover the roof," she said. "Really a good group of people in the dead end on Papen."

Resident Sue Veglatte Righetti said on the Facebook page that she was pleased to see JT's Lawn & Landscaping, of Raritan, cutting down a tree that was covering her street.

"Thank you to [them] for getting us as well as many neighbors access to the road again," she said. "We've been surrounded by fallen trees since the storm. Awesome bunch of guys, and they did it super fast."

And on Twin Oaks Road, resident Patricia Phillips said they were totally blocked by several trees that had fallen down—but other residents took care of the problem.

"About nine neighbors with four chainsaws cleared the road," she said. "It was so nice to see people come together to help one another."

But there are still many more people around town dealing with damage from the storm.

Resident Eileen Buckley said she lost eight large trees on Stangle Road, as well as the columns from the front of her house and the gutter. And a neighbor, she said, had a car crushed by a tree.

And some neighbors are just helping those who are dealing with no power.

Resident Sue Jaghanna said she has no power in Bradley Gardens, but she does have a generator.

"We are helping three of our neighbors," she said.

As someone who lost power in both Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm, resident Carolyn Gioia said on Facebook that it is normal to get angry and panicked, particularly after the third day without power.

"You re-settle in on day four, and really accept you have no control on day five," she said. "It's worse as others get power, but you don't. Hang in there."

Instead of getting upset by it, Gioia said, residents should take others up on offers for warm showers and doing laundry. It is just all about getting through it, she said, and being prepared for the next time.

"You'll just be more prepared and maybe a little luckier," she said. "Most important, take care of your neighbors and respect their frustration if you have power and they don't. We are all equal when it comes down to it."

"One things for sure, you will have much greater empathy for others who go through a natural disaster," she added. "Hopefully it will make us all stick together and get through it."

Vivek November 02, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I live on the most busy area on us206 and I see no work anywhere near. Not sure when will we get power
Dana Caparoso November 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I live on Twin Oaks Road. A tree is still down on the power lines blocking the road with power lines dangling on the street. I called the police a few times about it, I also called and spoke to someone in emergency management about it, and still nobody has come out to cut it down. I called PSE&G, but they said the town has to first cut the tree down. I know the town is busy, but I haven't seen any tree cutting in my neighborhood or in my mom's neighborhood by Mountaintop. There is also a tree dangerously over Mine Road on powerlines that looks like it's ready to fall. Has the town forgotten about us?

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