By Jericka Duncan
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBS) – The bus ride into Seaside Heights allowed residents to see the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy up close.
At the entrance, there were mountains of debri from the boardwalk and destroyed properties.
Once residents got off the bus, the sound of suitcases could be heard rolling across the ground. Neighbors walked into their homes for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit.
Nina Olive and her mother say they were overcome with emotion by the amount of water and wind damage to the family’s vacation home.
“It’s sad for the town, but we’ll rebuild, I’m sure,” said Cindy Vetrulli of Hatboro, Pennsylvania.
“This is the first I’m going to cry,” said 91-year-old Gladys Vanderbilt, who only had structural damage done to her home. She’s lived in Seaside Heights for 46 years.
“It’s very emotional,” said Vanderbilt. “I raised my children here.”
Dozens of homes are still soaked. Basements are flooded, refrigerators have been turned upside. But just like the banner that flew in the sky, the community is “Jersey Strong” and grateful for what they do have.
“My daughter’s alive, I’m alive, my friends and neighbors are alive. We’re here to help each other and we’ll get it done,“ said Laurie Molinaro.