Hurricane Sandy certainly had a devastating impact on Bayonne residents financially, but the emotional impact was something that no words can truly describe. There is something to be said about feeling helpless and hopeless and how the two go hand in hand. My mother lives in the Country Village area of Bayonne. As any Bayonne resident would know, it was one of the hardest hit areas of town. Six to eight feet of water in her basement, a backyard that suddenly became a swimming pool, all of her heating, a/c, boiler, washer/dryer gone in the flood. Seeing your house, your residence … the place that you call home for 20 years … devastated and destroyed.
Although family members and neighbors in the area had a sense of solidarity and kinship in their joined grief and frustration it did little to relieve the anxiety of what is to come next. Where do we go from here? As we are standing outside trying to get the basement, garage, and backyard emptied of now useless and destroyed personal belongings we were met by Third Ward Council Member Mr. Ray Greaves. He was touring the neighborhood and visiting each family member in each home of the Bayonne Country Village area. He stopped by our house and helped me lift a large TV unit and put it on the curb, talked to my mom to see what she may need, distributed blankets and assisted the Red Cross in giving out meals. For everyday that I was there helping out (which was every day) I saw Mr. Greaves there and not just once a day. He shook my then 8-year-old son’s hand and reassured him that his grandmother will be okay and that he will be here in the neighborhood checking up on her and everyone to see what else they may need and to help in any way he can. Those are actions you just don’t forget. It gave us a sense of relief and reassurance when we saw Mr. Greaves in the neighborhood. We felt that we weren’t forgotten or that his perfunctory duty was done and now it is time to move on. We were thankful and still are when we look back on those terrible days that he was there genuinely helping, reassuring, comforting and supporting us. We hope we never ever have to endure anything like that ever again, but we also know that if we did, Ray Greaves support would be unending until we were back on our feet again.