"We're in a bit of a pickle," said Maggie Lippolis, first lieutenant of Oceanport's first aid squad.
She's standing inside the now gutted Philip J. Budinkski Memorial Building on Pemberton Avenue.
Up until Oct. 29 the squad enjoyed a nice piece of property on the water (or mud, depending on the tide) on the backwaters of Oceanport creek. During Sandy the creek swelled to almost the top of the chain link fence behind the building and poured into the vehicle bays, the meeting room and the squad kitchen.
The place where the squad once gathered to train, work and socialize is now a dusty mess, stripped down to the rafters about four feet up the wall. What hasn't changed is the volunteer service that the squad provides.
Lippolis said that since Oct. 26 the squad of about 15 active members has answered about 100 calls.
This weekend Lippolis sent out an appeal on the Oceanport residents' group Facebook page.
The good news is we continue to serve our community and we were able to save our rigs, the Captain's car and our boat. The bad news is our building is in the same shape as many of your homes right now; completely gutted. Yes the meeting room, kitchen, bathrooms are taken down to the studs. Timing is never good for a storm that we just experienced, but it is even worse right around the holidays. We at OPVFAS will be holding our annual Christmas tree, wreaths and grave blanket sales.We will also be holding our bazaar but on a scaled back version. I know for many (myself included) it's hard to be thinking of this. These fund raisers are vital to keep our Squad going. I am asking, (with much anxiety) if you will continue to support the Oceanport Volunteer First Aid Squad. If anyone would like to make a donation to our gift auction, we would surely welcome any item, gift certificate, etc. I have seen the spirit of giving in our town since October's dark day. Our town has some wonderful citizens who have helped people they don't even know, out of the goodness of their hearts. That being said, thank you for your continued support of the Oceanport Volunteer First Aid Squad.
Donations can be sent to: OPVFAS, Two Pemberton Ave. Oceanport, NJ 07757.