Wardlaw Hartridge Cheerleaders Give $3500 To Hurricane Sandy Victims

534549_207401036062656_582334467_nBelow is a follow up with the Wardlaw Hartridge Cheerleading Program. They were the team who were selling wrist bands to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy. On Saturday December 15, the Wardlaw Hartridge cheerleaders finally got to present a $3500 check to Union Beach Fire Department. This is a message from the cheerleaders and their coaches about what your donations have helped them to do. We hope these cheerleaders and coaches inspire you to give back to your community!

215923_135803119904364_969755961_n“When we began this project the day after the storm, I had no idea that people from as far as Florida, Texas and California would support our efforts to help New Jersey residents who were directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The willingness of others to help their fellow man is truly inspiring and I am very proud of our cheerleading squad and their desire to do what they can for others. The easy part has been selling the wristbands; we have sold over 600 wristbands and orders are still coming in! The challenge has been the decision of where the funds we are raising will go. There are organizations out there that are providing relief to Sandy victims but often donations to them are just a drop in the bucket or only a portion will go where you specify. The cheerleaders wanted to know that they were truly making a difference and felt strongly that they helped those who were hit the hardest, the New Jersey shore residents.

546598_214373455365414_849876839_nThe day before Thanksgiving, some of the cheerleaders and I headed south on the Garden State Parkway to give the Manasquan Firemen homemade baked goods as thanks for all they have done and continue to do for their community. While there, we talked with them about the storm, the clean-up, and also asked about possible charities or communities that needed help. They said that even though Manasquan was hit hard, they will be able to recover, but the town of Union Beach has some of the worst storm damage they had witnessed. It is ranked second in total damage dealt to towns across all of New Jersey.With the help of the Manasquan Fire Department, I was able to contact Chief Rob Laberta of the Union Beach Fire Department and Mike Murray, UBFD Board President. The UBFD consists of four volunteer fire houses, of which only one is still operational and it is in need of some repair. The fire department hopes to save some of their bigger engines through repair and service work but they lost a number of their smaller emergency vehicles.

604162_135804733237536_1729101520_nBut even more overwhelming are the individual losses the Union Beach firemen have suffered.As the winds began to roar and the ocean start to swell, Sandy was coming ashore. The first calls for help came in, and the UBFD volunteers drove to their respective firehouses, parked their cars, and then went to work helping their neighbors without a second thought. They tirelessly responded to calls around the clock. Finally when Sandy’s winds slowed and the waters receded, Union Beach’s bravest were told to go home for a rest. Only going home was not so easy. Many of the firemen couldn’t go home because they no longer had a car to get them home. Others, who were able to get home, discovered there was no longer a home for them to go back.

390296_135804383237571_1185463278_nUnion Beach is a hard working blue collar community with approximately 6,000 residences. It is a small close knit town, the kind where it seems that everybody knows one another’s names. The people I have spoken to are warm and inviting. The UBFD is 100% volunteer and donation based which means that all of their operating costs – mortgages, utilities and general maintenance – come from volunteers and the donations they receive.Firemen are individuals who selflessly protect the lives and property of others. Volunteer firemen do it while asking for nothing in return. Even now, the UBFD continues to work round-the-clock helping their neighbors to try and salvage what’s left of their homes. Many of the UBFD members’ homes were destroyed or sustained major damage but despite personal losses, they continue to put their community before themselves. As always, their priority is to the residents of Union Beach and their homes and property.

Our team is truly inspired by the way the Union Beach Fire Department continues to help. Just because they now only have one firehouse does not mean that the number of emergency calls has changed – they are still responding to every call they get and have yet to ask for help themselves. This is why we would like to see the money we are raising through our wristband sales go to the UBFD. Ultimately, by helping them, we will be helping all those who need their help. Coach Tucker and Coach Sofield”

196142_214373165365443_226070498_nWhen Cheer NN asked Coach Sofield for a personal quote about why they chose to support this cause, she gave us an answer that was so touching and intimate that we had to share, “I had the idea to raise money because my family was personally affected by the storm. My Aunt and Uncle live in Mantoloking on the Barrier Island and their house was completely destroyed by the flood waters. My parents also have a summer home down there. Going down to the island and seeing the damage is gut wrenching and there are honestly no words to describe it. It looks like a war zone. There were National Guards stationed at the corners who are sitting there in chairs that were put out for garbage keeping warm by fires in a garbage cans.

Jersey Strong – Restore the Shore is a fundraiser being run by the WHSH Varsity Cheerleaders. They will be donating all proceeds from these bracelets to those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. You may now purchase bracelets by check. Please make them payable to The Wardlaw Hartridge School with a memo of “Cheer – RTS”. They can be mailed to Tanda Tucker C/O The Wardlaw-Hartridge School, 1295 Inman Ave, Edison NJ 08820. Or you can donate online at: https://www.whschool.org/podium/default.aspx?t=140319&rcsssss=1