New Jersey storm victims pay it forward to North Carolina

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New Jersey storm victims pay it forward to North Carolina. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 4pm on September 13, 2018.

As the southeastern United States braces for the impact from Hurricane Florence, some people in our area are recalling their own brush with a natural disaster.

Superstorm Sandy survivors know all too well what it's like to rebuild after a devastating blow.

Some of those survivors include a group in Ocean County. They credit complete strangers with helping them get back on their feet.

Now, they are ready to return the favor.

Joan DeLucia was one of the first who returned to a devastated Ortley Beach after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

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"It was a disaster down here," she said.

90 percent of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Homeowners were facing an uncertain future when a group of North Carolinians rolled into town.

"They were a group of strangers that had nothing to do with us, nothing to do with Ortley Beach, that stayed for three to four years," she said.
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See Action News video of our Superstorm Sandy coverage in 2012

"They were hard workers. They were working seven days a week," said Joan.

Baptists on Mission repaired and rebuilt hundreds of homes in and around Ortley Beach for free.

"We go beyond storms and help rebuild houses," said Billy Layton.

He leads the disaster relief mission that travels the country. Now he and his family are in the path of Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina.

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See Action News video of our Superstorm Sandy coverage in 2012

"It's basically going to come right over top of us. We're just waiting," he said.

But back in New Jersey, Joan isn't waiting.

"My first phone call was to them, and I told them we got their back. New Jersey doesn't forget and we're coming," she said.

Like she did after Hurricane Harvey, the Toms River woman is launching a donation drive for supplies she plans to deliver to North Carolina.

"When we needed them most we didn't have to call. They just came," she said.

Layton says part of his group's mission is to encourage people to give back. Little did he know, his community may be the ones in need.

"This is the true cause of that. Joan and people of New Jersey, they're paying it forward," said Layton.

"We've been through it. We know how devastating it is and we want to help, want to give hope. It's horrible but we're going to get through this," Joan said.

For more information visit Joan's Facebook page called Sandy - Weekday Warriors.

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