Interview with James Butler, July 11, 2013

Butler describes his middle class neighborhood of Union Beach, New Jersey. He explains that there was a great amount of contractors in the neighborhood which was beneficial during the recovery process of the storm. Butler talks about how he had to manage his gas trips carefully. He also lists his preparations for the storm. Butler talks about how some people did not really heed the warnings that were given. He also describes his role in trying to help convince people to evacuate after receiving the warnings. Butler tells about how many houses in his area were washed out by the storm. He also describes his first view of his house after Hurricane Sandy hit. Butler describes the state of confusion the community was in when looking for aid in recovery. Butler describes looking to different sources of aid and how quickly they responded. He also describes feeling like there was not a good source of information given to the people of Union Beach. Butler describes that there was a disconnect of people who had supplies to provide and those who needed those supplies. He also mentions that people were not coping but were managing the situation by picking up and leaving. Butler mentions the looting that was happening after the storm. He also talks about having a sense of security because of the presence of the National Guard in his neighborhood. Butler describes finding the first Christmas tree which came to be known as the Hope Tree. Families began to place ornaments with their family names and addresses which gained Facebook users' attention through the creation of a page for it. He also describes how people were sending money to those affected by Hurricane Sandy because of the Hope Tree and seeking more information to help out. Butler says his biggest lesson from the storm is that so many people desire to help others. Hope is a key thing to hold onto when going through a situation like this one, according to Butler.

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