Meanwhile, another member of their party, Sean Carlin, 26, was already planning on a return trip.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, just a few days after Sandy wreaked havoc then moved on, Dean Martin reached out to a family friend in a storm-ravaged part of New Jersey, asking what he could do to help. Later that night, the answer came: Send ice.
The Rouses Point man mobilized local friends and got to work.
Tonia and Mike Finnegan, who own the North Country Club in Keeseville, took care of canvassing businesses in the Keeseville area for ice. Meanwhile, Michelle Kelley, owner of The Pepper restaurant in Plattsburgh, took care of businesses there. The ice started to slide in, along with other contributions.
“We had our first big break when I contacted Alex’s Ice over in Massena, and Alex donated a ton of ice,” Martin said.
And Marty Mannix and the Plattsburgh Rotary Noon Club “helped raise a huge amount of money.”
Within 72 hours of the call for ice going out, Martin was rolling south in a donated U-Haul truck with 7,000 pounds of ice, along with supplies of baby food and cash. They reached Highlands, N.J., at about 1:30 a.m., then continued on the hour and a half to Highlands.
Highlands is just three miles from Sea Bright, one of the hardest his areas of the Jersey Coast.
“The closer you got to the coast, you saw more and more damage,” he said. “The next morning, when they offloaded our truck, you could see the 8-to-10-foot tidal surge that just wiped out, just ruined half their town.”
He saw stately old trees everywhere, blown over like matchsticks. Lines at gas stations stretched 50 cars long, and shopping malls were turned into staging areas for armies of cherrypicker line trucks.