Hurricane Sandy hits home |

Hurricane Sandy hits home

ASPEN – She’s lived in the Aspen area for only seven months, but Megan Gelson hopes residents here are as giving as advertised.

Gelson, 23, comes from New Jersey, where her hometown of Point Pleasant Beach was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. She previously lived in Boulder before she moved to Aspen earlier this year. She now lives in Snowmass.

“It’s just devastating,” she said. “You have an absolute feeling of helplessness here. You just want to be home.”

On Friday, she and her husband shopped at Target and Wal-Mart in Glenwood Springs for essential items they planned to overnight mail to New Jersey.

Gelson also is reaching out to the local community for help. Diapers, formula and warm clothing are in high demand, she said. She said she’s willing to pick up items from people if they just give her a call. Her number is 303-775-4450.

“I am more than happy to pick up items and ship them myself,” she said. “It would just be much more efficient all around if the items can be shipped directly from the donors.”

Donors themselves can mail the items to Anne Marie Friscia, 650 Poole Ave., Union Beach, N.J. 07735. Monetary donations can be sent to Union Beach Disaster Relief, 650 Poole Ave., Union Beach, N.J. 07735.

Like many people from the Eastern Seaboard, it’s personal for Gelson.

“Childhood memories have been washed away,” she said.

Her father, an attorney, has stayed busy by using a boat to rescue people trapped in their homes by floodwater, she said.

“He is a doer,” she said. “I knew he’d be the first person out there in a boat.”

Hurricane Sandy hit Monday night. Residents just started to return to the their homes Thursday in such Jersey Shore towns as Point Pleasant and Union Beach, where Gelson’s sister’s boyfriend lives. Homes have been wrecked, lives lost. Many residents lack clean clothes. Others don’t have power.

“It’s just complete devastation,” Gelson said. “It is horrible. It’s just a war zone.”

She noted that the storm has brought out those who try to capitalize on tragedy, but, “On the whole, the states and towns have really banned together.”

Gelson said she has stayed in touch with relatives by phone. She gets the occasional text from her dad. Making matters potentially worse is that another storm might be on the horizon.

Any help from her new neighbors would go a long way, Gelson said.

“Being new to the area, it’s been a little difficult getting the word out in Aspen,” she said.

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