By Robin Rieger

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ. (CBS) — Gratitude extended both ways at the Seaside Heights firehouse on Sunday as Vice President Joe Biden, along with New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and other elected officials thanked first responders who’ve worked non-stop before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.

“What an incredible debt of gratitude we owe to police and firefighters  and the first responders here,” Biden said.

After meeting with FEMA officials at the firehouse, Vice President Biden took an aerial tour of the flood-ravaged coast taking in some of the hardest hit areas.  A driving tour revealed mostly deserted streets. A walking tour included a lighter moment on the devastated Seaside Heights boardwalk as Biden got closer to a roller coaster that now sits in the ocean.

“No one will push if we get close right,” Biden said. “No one’s going to push us.”

The Vice President said he is no stranger to New Jersey’s beaches.

“As a kid I spent all of my time on the Jersey shore,” Biden said. “My sister and brother own homes here.”

New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was very clear about the need for federal assistance in an area where sand piles look like snow drifts.

“I appreciate the Vice President for coming here and seeing for himself what we have been living with for the last three weeks,” said Guadagno.

You are going to rebuild,” Biden said. “And I promise you we will do everything in our power.”

Many of New Jersey’s National Guard troops, active duty airmen and civilians who are assisting in the recovery efforts also appreciated the Vice President’s visit. Biden flew into joint base McGuire, Dix, Lakehurst on Sunday morning.  It was designated a support installation for federal and department of defense response efforts.

“Just to have the opportunity to meet him and for him to say thank you for what we’ve done is really the icing on the cake,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Adrian Davis.

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