STRONGER THAN THE STORM.  Is that the battle-cry we have vowed to live by or is it a political marketing slogan that has masked the reality of what thousands of people are still facing on a daily basis?

Storm damage at the Jersey Shore (John Moore, Getty Images)

Today of course is the one year anniversary of Hurricane or Superstorm Sandy. I admit to being confused myself over this because it’s commonly referred to as both depending on the source.  Either way a year ago many who live near water, whether it be the ocean, bay, rivers or lagoons saw parts of their lives wash away.

Even those protected from the water could not hide from the fierce winds and tree damage is still very visible throughout the Ocean and Monmouth County area.

The destruction was simply mind-blowing as decades of fear became a reality because this time it was us and we saw first-hand what we had watched many times on TV.  Mother Nature delivered a haymaker and while many have gotten back on their feet others are still staggering around waiting for the bell to save them (leave it to me to always use some sports verbiage).

So let me get back to where I started.

Sandy hits Mantoloking (Townsquare Media)

STRONGER THAN THE STORM looks and sounds great but is it really the truth?  The answer a year later has to be yes and no.  During and after Sandy we saw dozens of examples of man helping his fellow man and there was a spirit that only really exists in our darkest hours.

From first responders risking their own lives to save others to neighbors offering their homes, food and electricity we pulled together.  In a sense it was the best of times and the worst of times but for the most part people were willing to sacrifice and do what they could to help.

Flash forward to today and in some cases the recovery has been quicker than we could have imagined after seeing for the first time what Sandy left.  Boardwalks were rebuilt in time for the summer, homes and businesses have been restored or rebuilt, and damaged infrastructure has been repaired.

However for way too many the slogan appears nothing but a cheap attempt to hide a greater problem.  You can still find many homes that have been barley touched and homeowners still forced to rent elsewhere as they search for answers to their question: what about me? Billions of dollars have been made available but yet many can’t get close to what they need to clean up, raise and rebuild their homes.   For them the surging water and damaging winds of a year ago was only the start of the nightmare.

STRONGER THAN THE STORM….you be the judge.