Friday, November 24, 2017

Rescued Christmas tree lifts wrecked town's spirit

RECOMMENDED READING


UNION BEACH, N.J. — In the days after Hurricane Sandy wrecked this gritty blue-collar enclave on the New Jersey shore, creating iconic scenes of devastation and loss, the artificial Christmas tree was just an inconspicuous part of tons of rubble.

A local youth soccer coach drove past it three days straight, on his way to help neighbors rip out the carpets, floors and walls of their flooded homes.

Then he plucked it from its waterlogged storage bag, set it up in a vacant field — and watched in amazement as residents made the tree their own, adorning it with handmade ornaments, lights, and messages of hope, defiance and recovery.

A month later, Union Beach has rallied around the tree.

"It's become the sign of our hope, that life goes on and you move forward. It's just amazing," said Gigi Liaguno-Dorr,

James Butler recalled the night in early November when he took the tree out of the bag. "It was like the rest of the town: It smelled bad and it was sopping wet," he said.

He tried to set it upright, but it had no stand. He bought a stand, but it didn't quite fit right, and to this day it lists a little to the side. He put up a handmade sign next to it that read: "Dear Sandy: You can't wash away hope. You only watered it so more hope can grow. Signed, Union Beach."

A few ornaments appeared within a day or two. Others followed. Then more. A neighbor ran a string of extension cords from his house to light the tree.

The ornaments began getting personal, with hand-scrawled notes of support. One family wrote, "We believe! We have hope! We will recover!"

Comments
Thanksgiving weekend shopping mall-ternatives

Thanksgiving weekend shopping mall-ternatives

Mall-ternatives: Thanksgiving Weekend ShoppingThis is it — shopping's big moment. What used to only be one major shopping event the day after Thanksgiving has now grown into a whole weekend and some change, with Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning recalls Cory Conacher from Syracuse

Lightning recalls Cory Conacher from Syracuse

The Lightning recalled forward Cory Conacher from AHL Syracuse on Friday for tonight's game against the Capitals.GM Steve Yzerman said that with a couple players dealing with minor injuries, Conacher's callup provides some depth so that the team coul...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Report: Florida Gators moving on from Chip Kelly

Report: Florida Gators moving on from Chip Kelly

The Florida Gators are out of the Chip Kelly sweepstakes, according to a report Friday afternoon from Yahoo! Sports.Pat Forde is reporting that UF has moved on from Kelly. This matches what I was told earlier in the week – UF wouldn't wait on K...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Saints visit Rams in surprising showdown of division leaders

The New Orleans Saints' first visit to Los Angeles since 1994 seemed highly unlikely to be a meeting of powerhouse division leaders just a few weeks ago
Updated: 5 minutes ago

Police help deliver baby boy at home on Thanksgiving Day

A Massachusetts family is giving thanks to two police officers who helped deliver their newest addition on Thanksgiving Day
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Authorities: Suspect killed his mom, girlfriend and himself

Authorities in Pennsylvania say a man apparently shot and killed his mother and girlfriend before killing himself a short while later
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Trump denounces attack in Egypt, calls again for travel ban

Trump denounces attack in Egypt, calls again for travel ban

Trump denounces deadly mosque attack in Egypt, asserts world must crush terrorists by military means
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Missouri dismemberment suspect charged in California killing

Missouri dismemberment suspect charged in California killing

A homeless man found sleeping in a Kansas storage unit with his children and his dismembered wife's remains is now suspected of killing a California man who vanished last year
Updated: 12 minutes ago

AP Top News at 4:08 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 4:08 p.m. EST
Updated: 17 minutes ago
The Latest: UN condemns deadly mosque attack in Egypt

The Latest: UN condemns deadly mosque attack in Egypt

The U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have condemned the deadly attack on a mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in "the strongest terms" and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice
Updated: 17 minutes ago