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A Shore Home Rebuilding Effort Begins When One Fishing Buddy Helps Another

A grass-roots effort to renovate Sandy-damaged homes begins when and avid fisherman helps a fellow fishing buddy.

Damage from Hurricane Sandy
Damage from Hurricane Sandy (Shawn Michaeels, Townsquare Media NJ)

Bob Mulcahy, Vice President of Facilities for Saint Peters University Hospital in New Brunswick, keeps his boat in Waretown and heard from a retired friend soon after Sandy.

Mulcahy says “he called me third day of the storm and I was still at the hospital with problems. He really doesn’t know what I do for a living. He just knows me as, you know, he fishes with me. So by the time I got down there, he was a wreck. The place was a mess. It was just a disaster. We were fortunate enough to get him in a house that my mother-in-law owns down there actually.”

He says soon after that, he and four fishing buddies got together and renovated his home. “We took the sheet rock out and replaced all the sheet rock and took the flooring up. Long story short, he went back in New Year’s week and we had another friend of mine in Forked River same thing, I helped him.” However, Mulcahy says the calls for help kept coming.

Mulcahy says the rebuilding efforts evolved into a hospital-sanctioned initiative that has amassed more than 50 volunteers and is in the process of repairing it’s ninth home in Southern Ocean County. According to a press release, they’ve focused on people in need – in many cases senior citizens with few resources or who didn’t know where to turn – working nights and weekends to reconstruct walls, floors, eradicate mold, basically anything required to make those homes habitable again.

Mulcahy says they initially paid for the projects out of pocket until their friends could repay them for materials out of insurance money. However, he says they just received a $25,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation based in New York to purchase materials.

The communities in which they have worked include Forked River, Waretown, Beach Haven, Little Egg Harbor, and Manahawkin, and the effort is quickly expanding.

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