Gov. Christie, volunteers offer optimism to Hurricane Sandy victims

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October 29, 2013 8:44:01 PM PDT
For Chris Christie, New Jersey's famously gruff governor, hugs have become an unlikely part of the job. A year after his state was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, he's become, in a sense, consoler-in-chief.

"Today, for me, is more about a time to just take a deep breath and rededicate ourselves to that mission, which is to get people back to normal," Christie said.

The Governor marked the end of a most grueling year with what was sure to be a grueling day, a 10-city statewide sweep, checking in on progress, and encouraging those overwhelmed by what's left to do, including in Seaside Heights.

"I want us all to think about just how much better things look today than they looked a year ago, and celebrate that. Because we all accomplished that together," Christie said.

The Governor, whose wife Mary Pat also hit several locations Tuesday, has his work cut out. By his own estimate, the state is only half recovered. And many argue that's an optimistic estimate.

But, today, optimism was not in short supply.

Neither were volunteers.

Working with New Jersey Cares, some 3,000 volunteers turned out at almost 50 locations statewide, painting, plastering, and repairing projects that otherwise might not get the attention they need, such as at a community garden in Brick, at the Fire House in Surf City, and back in the Seaside home of Anthony Chirichilli.

"Water damage, we got destruction to everything," Chirichilli said.

He lost much of the only home he has a year ago and has lived in five apartments since.

On Tuesday, a happy army of volunteers turned out to give his house back.

"I think that's a blessing for every one of us. Everybody should be thankful for these people," Chirichilli said.


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