It began as a charitable whim on Facebook with one Pennsylvania fire fighter, and ended with a small Army of volunteers and a tractor trailer of supplies in Oceanport on Saturday night.
Carbon County Helps Sea Bright is the brain child of Kevin Stebar and Kira Michalik, a couple from Summit Hill, Pa.
"I can no longer sit here and watch all this devastation in NJ!!" Kevin told his Facebook friends last week. "I became good friends with the Fire Chief in Sea Bright, Chad [Murphy], when they bought their KME fire truck earlier this year and they have lost EVERYTHING in their Borough including their fire station. This was one of the hardest hit areas of NJ. This level of destruction is absolutely gut wrenching for me to watch and I can tell his emotions through texts and FB posts."
Stebar and Michalik made the decision to load up Stebar's Jeep on Nov. 10 and drive supplies down to the battered borough. Stebar put out a request to his Facebook friends, asking anyone interested to kick something in.
The response was more than he and his fiance bargained for. Before they knew it they had 200 volunteers and enough supplies to fill a 53 foot tractor trailer and a U-Haul, besides his Jeep.
"We can't thank you enough," Steber told his friends, who made the 140 mile trek out to Oceanport to unload the truck at Port au Peck Chemical Hose. National Guardsmen and Oceanport firefighters were on hand to help unload the supplies, everything from clothing to stoves, which will be distributed to residents of Sea Bright and surrounding towns.
"People ask me, 'Why do you volunteer?'" said Oceanport First Assistant Fire Chief Ken Carroll. "This is why we do it, to help other people. It's amazing."
Next week at least one of the volunteers, Suzanne Milkowich, will return with the second phase, school supplies, donated from her district to Wolf Hill teacher Shelly Mastriana. Mastriana, who teaches fourth grade and is Milkowich's cousin, is working to outfit all the students of Sea Bright and Oceanport who lost their supplies in the flood.