SPOTLIGHT: With Seaside Heights so close to his heart, River Vale Detective Sgt. John DeVoe worked with Chief Michael McCann and people from throughout the borough and beyond to “adopt” the storm-ravaged Shore town, collecting a storehouse of goods to be delivered this Friday.
DeVoe began his law enforcement career with the Seaside Heights Police Department in 1996 and was graduated from the Ocean County Police Academy. His family has had a home in neighboring Ortley Beach for nearly 60 years.
Hearing what Hurricane Sandy was doing, DeVoe gold hold of Seaside Heights Officer Kevin Shouldis, asking how he could help.
As Shouldis rattled off some items that the department was lacking, DeVoe took notes.
The next day, he met with McCann — and the relief drive was launched.
His goal, the sergeant said, was to make sure their brother officers were “properly equipped to continue to save lives, protect their community, and provide basic personal effects for their displaced residents.”
DeVoe turned to the borough.
“As you can imagine, the police officers in Seaside Heights have endured a lot over the past week and they have suffered devastation, both professionally and personally,” he wrote, in an open letter. “While some of us have experienced our own hardships locally, most of them likely pale in comparison to the challenges faced by the residents and emergency service workers of Seaside Heights.”
In no time, officials and employees with the borough, the school district and all emergency services got moving.
As the piles of donated items grew higher, the Community Emergency Response Team and Ladies Fire Auxiliary volunteered to sort and pack them all.
Emergency services in other towns held their own drives and collected money toward the effort.
Local businesses “offered everything from supplies to trucks to boxes and packing tape,” said DeVoe (above, with just some of the donated items), who joined the River Vale force in 1998.
“The generosity of the people of the Pascack Valley and beyond has been overwhelming,” the detective sergeant said. “We had people pull up with the intention of dropping off a donation who ended up parking their cars and working alongside us for hours on end.
“It has been incredible to watch children in their teens work side-by-side with people in their 60s to help make this collection a success.”
Several of them will join DeVoe in a caravan headed to Seaside Heights around 9 a.m. Friday.
You can still donate, however, to:
Seaside Heights P.B.A. Local #252
116 Sherman Ave.
Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
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