BELMAR, NJ — After night has fallen, there is a sign of hope — literally — that can be seen along Belmar’s eastern skyline while traveling over the Route 35 bridge.

The word “hope” emblazoned in red, white and blue lights and a large cross in white lights have been erected atop the Belmar senior housing building at 710 Eighth Avenue — the creation of Michael Carr, the building’s supervisor who wanted to send a message of inspiration to the community during the coronavirus crisis.

He designed the large display using the building’s Christmas lights on April 1 — only having to start over again the next day when high winds left it a pile of tangled wires. “I wasn’t going to let the devil beat me,” said Carr, who rebuilt it even stronger than before. 

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He also expanded on the theme at the building’s front entrance, where he took reflective tape to spell out words in large block letters on its large columns. He took those words — love, joy, hope, faith and dream — from posters created by resident Missy Manley that are displayed on the front lobby’s windows.

As for the building’s some 50 residents — seniors and those with disabilities — steps have been taken to help ensure their safety and protect their health and well-being, given their high-risk potential for COVID-19.

“We have an active group of residents who are out doing their essential shopping, wearing their masks and gloves,” Carr said. “So far, everyone is doing the best they can.”

He has drawn much praise for his larger-than-life inspirational display. “When I’m asked why I did it, it’s because hope is what it’s all about,” said Carr, who’s known for his artistic talent. “We have to come together at this time and believe we will get through this.”

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