Incredible winds ravaged the area of Ocean Township. Trees and power lines crashed to the ground.

Courtesy of Jordan White

Just as the storm began to take form, a neighbor’s tree fell through the roof of Jordan White’s home in Monmouth County, New Jersey and created a large hole in the ceiling, allowing rain to pour directly into the house.

When Hurricane Sandy began pushing its way up the shoreline in the Northeast United States, winds broke the sand dunes and eliminated any hope of isolating the devastation on the beach. In short time, sands covered the streets in Ocean Township and blocked much of the drainage systems in the surrounding area. As a result, White’s home, along with many others in the area, were severely flooded from the storm.

“It’s just a house, so it can be replaced,” said White, a leadership consultant in the LEAD Office. “Everyone in the house is okay. The hardest part for me is the town.”

To add insult to injury, White’s family regained power just in time to lose it as a result of the more recent snowstorm that further devastated the area. White’s family, like many others in the area, is currently living in a house that contains several inches of snow.

Still, White remains thankful that her family is safe. Many of the areas that she frequents during the summer, though, did not enjoy the same fate. While she maintains that everything she lost within her house can be replaced, but holds tightly to the memories of her town that will never be the same.

“When you have a house fire, you can go to your best friend’s house and seek comfort and support,” White said. “But when it’s the whole town, it’s not just memories in the house. It’s every memory.”

To help the people in and around Ocean Township, the L-Team and LEAD Office organized a collection drive that will run through Nov. 15 to directly help the community in need.

They are asking for donations of non-perishable food and beverage items, blankets, gloves, toiletries and a variety of other necessities that will be delivered to St. George Greek Orthodox Church in White’s hometown on Nov. 17.

“[The support from Mason] is incredible,” White said. “It’s amazing to see how much can come together in such little time after something like that happens.”

When the L-Team and other members of the LEAD Office make the 225-mile trek, White will be driving one of the vans and returning to her hometown for the first time since the devastation. While, naturally, she anticipates the trip being difficult, White is looking forward to the opportunity to return home and bring some light to an otherwise devastated area.

“It’s going to be really nice seeing my family,” White said. “I’m really anxious to go up and be there.”