Brigantine Mayor Philip Guenther and Fire Chief James Holl went before Galloway Township Council to thank them for their assistance following Superstorm Sandy.
“We were vulnerable and our neighbor was there to help,” said Guenther, a Galloway Township native.
Sandy was the second costliest storm in the history of the country, and made landfall in Brigantine, according to the final report on the storm recently released by the National Hurricane Center.
Brigantine was one of five barrier islands in which residents were told to evacuate in the days leading up to Sandy, and the spot visited by President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie in the days following the storm.
“We lost two fire engines during the storm, they were completely filled with water,” Guenther said. “The next day I got a call from (Galloway Mayor) Don Purdy and he asked what we needed. I said what we really need is a fire engine, not thinking we would get it. He said no problem, and they were able to loan us a fire engine and we still have it. It’s still in our firehouse as we work to replace the two fire engines.”
Replacing fire engines isn’t an easy task, and it’s not cheap.
“We promise to give your fire engine back,” Guenther said.
Purdy and Guenther have been close ever since Purdy was Deputy Mayor and he attended his first Mayors’ Meeting. He said Guenther has been supportive of Purdy since their first meeting.
“He’s a longstanding mayor in Atlantic County,” Purdy said. “You go into this blind, and to have help like this is priceless.”
Galloway Township suffered no long-term effects from the storm, and was able to assist the other towns in the county, including Longport, Margate and Ventnor. Those islands, along with Atlantic City, were also told to evacuate prior to the storm.
“Galloway was fortunate enough not to be devastated,” Purdy said. “It was instant. We asked the fire department and they said absolutely we will help them.”
Holl commended the way the teamwork between Galloway and Brigantine.
“There are fires in Brigantine and our two communities always work together,” Holl said. “We thought we would be through this by now, but we’re still not finished.”