Today I jump on an airplane and head back to Los Angeles after 2+ months in New Jersey. As I do so, I reflect on my long stay and feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I’ll keep this as simple and as straight forward as I can. Thank You New Jersey!. Thank You for allowing me to be part of your on going recovery after storm Sandy. Thank you for showing me what true strength is in a time of crisis, and helping me renew my faith in humanity. Thank you for reminding me of the power of service and how many little people doing many little things can make many big changes. Thank you for showing me that there are extraordinary people who really care and reminding me of why I love this state and the people. I came here to help my parents with their home and enjoy the holidays with family but ended up with an experience of a lifetime. I’ve made amazing new friends and encountered hundreds of determined citizens. I may have broken a few walls and moved some sticks and bricks, but that’s small compared to what I received from you. Thank You. I created a slide show of some of my favorite pictures of my volunteer efforts. The Photos were taken by my new volunteer friends, and devastation pictures I took myself. The song underneath these photos is by Michael Franti called “Gloria”,which also happens to be the name of my Grandmother, Gloria, whom I lost just a few weeks ago while here on my visit. It’s fitting being she was a becon of hope and taught me the power of compassion and charity. I know she’d be proud.
I’m not showing these photos for some type of pat on the back. I do it to remind others that just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet. Things are still in bad shape, and still much work must be done. Some of these photos were taken just a few days ago. It’s a reminder to myself and others that volunteering doesn’t only have to happen when things are bad and that just a little bit of service at any time goes along way into helping all of us be better than we were the day before. I’m convinced that service to others is the key to happiness. Regardless of what your cause is try it and you will see what I mean.
“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” Buddha
Special Thanks to:
Penny Kaye– For taking me on my first volunteer job and as usually helping me light the fire for change.
Sandy-Weekday Warriors – and by that I mean Joan Delucia who continues to be real change in action. Thanks for including me always and devoting your personal time to getting help to those who need it most. Most of all thanks for having a great attitude and being the shoulder for many of your fellow townspeople to cry on.
Surf Rider Foundation Jersey Shore chapter– For introducing me to new friends and your efforts in Restoring the Shore.