For the past three days, Valley View School District 365U Board of Education Vice-President Rick Gougis has been an eyewitness to the horrible devastation Mother Nature can bring upon communities.
Gougis is in New Jersey pitching in with volunteers from every corner of the United States to “help the local residents in any way I can” in the wake of the Super Storm that developed from Hurricane Sandy.
“There is a quiet resolve here, their strength is inspiring,” he said. “They’re steadfast. There’s no despair. There are no complaints.”
Gougis left for the New Jersey/New York area Monday, determined to help people he knew "faced the brunt of the storm," some of whom were employees and the customers of the company he works for, many more who were nothing more than strangers.
His first view of the devastation came in Seaside, home of the pier and amusement park that appeared on every television news program in the country after being swallowed up by the ocean. Sand was everywhere, six inches deep as far inland as four or five blocks.
“It was hard to fathom,” he said.
Power came on as he began to pitch in …some 10 days after the storm had ended.
“It really lifted their spirits.”
Because so many local residents are homeless and had to be relocated, Gougis has been spending his nights 60 miles away from the devastation and driving to the scene each morning.
Today (Wednesday) he was working in Tom Rivers, NJ unloading supplies from a semi-tractor trailer truck and carrying them where they were need via an SUV because the semi couldn’t get into the storm ridden area. He was on his 5th trip at last report, expecting at least a dozen more before nightfall.
“The local residents and the volunteers are all amazing,” he said.
Gougis plans on returning home Thursday night.
Editor's note: This a press release from Valley View School District 365U.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
There are plenty of ways to keep up on Bolingbrook news: