by Oren Liebermann
ORTLEY BEACH, N.J., (CBS) – Moments after a tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, rescue teams were out looking for survivors. They couldn’t think of themselves – they had to focus on others. It’s a feeling Firefighter Tim Farrell knows well.
“We kept on going through the night because we knew there were a lot of people out there that needed our assistance,” said Farrell.
Farrell was a rescue swimmer during Sandy, when the streets of Seaside Heights were covered in water.
He knows what it’s like to have someone else’s life in his hands – he knows what it’s like to be in Moore, Oklahoma.
“I feel for the folks out there. I feel for the first responders. I know what they’re going through. I know they haven’t slept in days and it’s going to go on,” said Farrell.
“Just get there, get there safely, just get the guys out of there and get out safely. Keep a straight mind and do what you got to do,” said Fire Chief William Rumbolo of Seaside Heights.
The destruction in Moore mirrors the damage in Ortley Beach after Sandy. Bill Mullen, like many in both towns, lost his house.
“Half of it wound up down the way. God knows what happened to the rest of the house,” said Mullen.
Two towns, nearly fifteen hundred miles apart, now share a similar path – a long and difficult recovery. But there are signs of progress in Ortley Beach, signs Moore will soon see.
“Things are really coming back. People are down here and they’re rebuilding so that is reassuring to see all of that,” said Lisa Thebault of Mantoloking.
Nearly seven months after Sandy there is much more work to do in Ortley Beach. But ask anyone here – this town is tattered, not torn. It’s a message they want to share with another small town in Oklahoma.