By DENISE HERSCHEL
As the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, many at the Shore can’t help but recall the devastation caused by this once-in-a-lifetime hurricane. And like all the communities along the Jersey Shore, Bradley Beach borough residents found it was often “good neighbors” helping each other that made those long, trying days easier to cope.
Inspired by the upcoming Sandy anniversary, Bradley Beach Library Director Janet Torsney and Bradley Beach library member Anthony DiMaio decided they wanted to find a way to salute those who were “good neighbors” not only during the storm but during the course of the year as well.
“Anthony and I were chatting one day about Sandy and how neighbors really stepped up to help each other out. We heard so many wonderful stories about good neighbors that we wanted to create an opportunity to honor those people. Bradley Beach is a terrific town. The library is happy to bring people together to recognize the things we do for each other and to promote the qualities of being a good neighbor,” Torsney said.
“Thank You, Neighbor” is sponsored by the Bradley Beach Public Library and the Friends of the Bradley Beach Library. Partners also include the Bradley Beach Elementary School, the borough of Bradley Beach and the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The “Thank You, Neighbor” celebration has two components – people had to submit their “Thank You, Neighbor” forms to the library by September 13 with recognition of as many neighbors as an individual wants and the September 28 party with the good neighbors and the people who recognized them enjoying desserts and entertainment together.
Torsney said she has been “delighted” with the response and continued that people have been recognized for a variety of good deeds.
“We had about 40 people submit forms and about 100 people were recognized in Bradley Beach. The requirement was you had to live in Bradley Beach and have your good deed done there,” she said.
“Every good neighbor, from the kid who mows your lawn to the people who respond to emergencies, will be honored because all of these caring activities create a stronger community,” Joan Cicchi, Friends of the Library President, said.
Library Board President Jeanne Beaudette added, “We are also mindful of the anniversary of Sandy. It’s an opportunity to recognize the good things we learned from the storm and it’s aftermath.”
Torsney said that the purpose of the event is to celebrate Bradley Beach and the people who make it a great town; honor the things we do for each other; and promote the qualities of being a good neighbor.
Torsney shared some of the comments she received from those who recognized their neighbors. One neighbor said, “She helps many people and is always the nurse. She calls me many times a day to see if I am OK and is always there when I need her.”
Another resident added, “The most generous soul I have ever known. Constantly helps family, friends, neighbors, and even a stranger. His heart and home is always open to those in need.”
And another long-time resident wrote, “She’s funny and caring and she knows everybody. She likes to help people and helps the town as much as she can.”
And there was even one person who submitted a poem about his neighbor, “Shovels snow, waves hello, helps in a crunch, invites us to brunch, checks on our place, just in case.”