By Mike Dougherty
LONGPORT, Nj. (CBS) — There were downed trees, both big and small, everywhere in Atlantic County, New Jersey on Sunday after the violent storms over the weekend. Utility crews were working hard, but they had an uphill battle ahead of them.
Residents needed all the help they could get.
Everywhere you turned, there were trees littering roadways. Power lines were hanging by a thread, and in some cases, not hanging at all.
Chelsea Havens of Galloway Township has two young children at home with no electricity or air conditioning. She was really trying to be understanding.
“I think they’re doing the best they can with all the damage,” she said. “I can’t see how they can get things done faster than they are doing.”
Bill from Egg Harbor Township was stocking up on food and supplies at a nearby store, ready for the long haul.
Ah, it’s rough man,” he said. “They really have their hands full with all these poles down, and it’s so widespread.”
Bill said just about everyone in his neighborhood has left to stay with friends or family, but he says he’s not going anywhere.
Among the countless properties that suffered significant damage as a result of the storms was the Redeemer Church in Longport, Atlantic County. The 104-year-old building was reduced to a hollow shell of charred wood.
Fire quickly tore through the building and tore out the hearts of neighbors who have shared so many special moments inside this building.
“I feel that tremendous loss for the building, said B.J. Schwartz, who lives next door and worshiped at the Church for 15 years. “But I also feel that the spirit that we felt every week when we gathered there is still within each of us and I think stronger than ever.”
Megan Dearnly and her husband Brian had their wedding on the lawn in September.
“Those windows all had this beautiful, nautical theme,” says Dearnly. “Now, it looks like a melted Coke bottle.”
Reverend John Baker told the congregation during mass outside the church to mourn and move on.
“People of faith are well-situated to prepare for some kind of new life, new experience after something familiar has gone away,” he said.
Church officials planned on tearing it down and building a new structure that they hope lasts 200 years.