January 27, 2013 at 9:38 AM
MADISON, NJ - After Hurricane Sandy tore through New Jersey in October, many towns were left in disarray and towns at the Jersey Shore were particularly hard hit. On Nov. 26, 2012 the Madison Borough Council agreed to partner with Union Beach to assist them in rebuilding their community and on Saturday night, Jan. 26, 2013, the St. Vincent Martyr School helped bring the Jersey Shore to Madison by hosting a fundraiser to support Union Beach.
Madison residents Bob and Suzanne Rocco felt the need to do something to support Union Beach, so they called Father George Hundt of St. Vincent Martyr Church and he said they could use the school gym and the rest was up to them.
Bob began to call friends and family members and they decided they would turn the gymnasium into a big Jersey Shore bar and have his band, Jumping the Gun, and another local band, House Rockers, perform. They created a huge Jersey Strong sign that lit up, parkway signs in the hallway, a slide show of bars at the shore and a bar in the middle of the room. Local restaurants and vendors donated all of the food, alcohol and the bar, so all of the proceeds of the event could be donated to help Union Beach.
“I just had an idea that we needed to do something to raise money for victims down at the shore,” Rocco said. “I think the Jersey Shore’s really a part of everybody’s life.”
They expected between 300 and 500 people to attend. Before the night began the event had already raised $8,000 and they were hoping to reach $20,000 by the end of the party. The amount of residents that volunteered was fantastic, he said.
“I’m not amazed. I know this is what these guys do,” Rocco said. “People want to give and if you ask people to help, they’ll help you.”
Councilman Bob Landrigan was extremely impressed with what was accomplished. Having gone to Union Beach with Mayor Bob Conley and other elected officials, he said every penny counts in rebuilding the community.
“I think it’s a phenomenal event,” he said. “It says a lot about the residents of this town that they’re willing to help this small town that many of them hadn’t heard of before the storm.”
Father Hundt said when Rocco approached him with the idea, he welcomed it because in dire times like these people need to step up and do the right thing. He also reached out to the Interfaith Council in Madison and other churches and got them to assist with the event, as well.
“This is really people wanting to help other people,” he said. “I think it’s great. Everybody’s going to have a great time.”