The wives and loved ones of the Ocean City Fire Department worked hard Sunday morning at the Ocean City Sports and Civic Center to help out after Hurricane Sandy.
After spending the storm listening to the scanner, watching the news and worrying about her husband, Carrie Ann Vliet felt like she just wasn't doing her part to help out.
She kept reading post after post on Facebook that said people should be doing this and that and finally decided that she and the other wives would get together to help.
The wives collected tons of donations of cleaning supplies, brooms, baby food, personal items, water and more. They were stationed with the Food Cupboard at the Civic Center at Sixth Street and Boardwalk on Saturday and Sunday.
The Vliet family knows what it is like to be hit by a natural disaster. In 2007, they lost their whole home to a fire.
“There are stages. The first couple of days you are thankful that your family is safe and healthy. The next weeks, months or even years it does not hurt any less that you lost everything. There is no difference whether you lost a top-of-the-line kitchen or a thrown-together-make-it-work kitchen. You need to get back to normal and realistically having a healthy safe family isn’t enough.”
“We are trying to get people back to that normal with helping. We will begin to take out kits around the town and just help out people who might not be able to get here.”
On Sunday, the wives did send out all of their products. Super Fresh donated about 10 cases of water, and Shop Rite in Marmora donated 2 pallets of bleach.
Wife of George Karpinski, Dawn, helped organize the event as well. She looked forward into people coming in and picking up items as they had collected a lot from Shop Rite in Marmora and from locals walking in.
Being a wife of a fireman isn’t easy during an approaching natural disaster. The Karpinskis have three small boys that Dawn had to keep occupied while George was at work. She was worried and says there is always a wonder if George would come home safely.
“My father was also a fireman, so I am used to it, but I would wait for phone calls from him and the wives talk to each other to get updates and see if they heard anything. Keeping three children occupied so they aren’t worried is also a challenge. But, you know they’re out there helping and doing what they love. George would go crazy if he were home.”