From BWB Volunteer John Dos Bicycleson December 29, 2012 at 5:37 PM
I just had the pleasure of spending a few days volunteering with Burners Without Borders working in Union Beach, NJ. The city is one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. I have ties to central NJ and wanted to do something constructive with my down time around the end of year holidays.
Before I got to the site I was told I might be helping with anything from demolition or site clean-up to preparing meals for other volunteers. I arrived with the idea that I had 2 able hands and would help in any way possible.
The pictures of the area that you see in the media are extreme, but nothing captures the feeling of seeing the damage in person. So many people lost so much. The impact really sinks in when you see homes knocked down, walls and roofs torn off, a child’s toy half-buried in muck, or someone’s kitchen set strewn around in what used to be a back yard. I came away with some aches and pains from site clean-up, but the feeling of satisfaction from helping someone with far less than me, more than made up for the effort.
The dedication of the volunteers and the time and effort put in by the leadership team is awe-inspiring. There is no 8-hour work day for the leadership team. All work skills and ideas are considered and it was fascinating to see as ideas come together as a work plan. The bottom line is that these people are here to help the residents get back on their feet and they do what they can to accommodate the town’s needs.
I would encourage others to volunteer. No amount of time or donation will be unappreciated. You might not think you have much to offer, but there are others that have far less and any gift of time or money will be used to the fullest.
-John Dos Bicycles is a Burners Without Borders volunteer from Boston, MA