Most mornings I have no idea what the subject matter of this segment will be  until I sit down at my computer and begin pondering. 

Kevin with Jen Barna and Michael Schwartz of Hometown Heroes (Tracy Harman, Tracy Harman Photography)

That would have been the case today that was until I tried to get to work and found all access to our building blocked because of a major fire in downtown Toms River.  I was able to talk my way close enough to park where I could simply walk across the street and as I entered the building I was greeted by Jen Barna, the Executive Director of Hometown Heroes with these words, “it’s gone, we’ve lost everything.”

If you listen to this station with regularity you know of our partnership with Hometown Heroes, a non-profit organization that helps people and communities in their time of need.  The need has always been there but of course since “Sandy” it’s been greater than ever.  Anyway back to Jen who proceeded to tell me that the overnight fire had totally destroyed their office building at 27 Washington Street.

A short time later she was joined in our building by Mike Schwartz, the Founder and President of Hometown Heroes.  To say the two of them were devastated would be an understatement as they recounted what had been lost and destroyed, including files and more that simply can’t be replaced.

These are two people who on a daily basis deal with those in need, facing bleak prospects and wondering what the future holds in store.  Right now Mike and Jen are just like some of the people they help,wondering where do we start, how do we go on.

Robbins Street after fire in downtown Toms River (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

I guess the point is this: you never know when you’re on the other side and today Hometown Heroes is faced with needing help to be able to get back to helping others.  I don’t know what we at Townsquare Media or anyone else can do but I will tell you this. When we ask for your help I hope you’ll respond.  Hometown Heroes has been there for hundreds if not thousands of local residents in the past several years. It’s time for payback.

Speaking of helping.  There will be a fundraiser Sunday at The Hedger House in Chatsworth for Bob Wilson and his family.  A longtime resident of Warren Grove who now lives in Chatsworth, Wilson suffered a fractured neck in a fall nearly six months ago and is undergoing extensive physical therapy at a rehab facility.

The fundraiser will include food and entertainment from 1-6pm with all proceeds to help his family, including four children.  For information you can call (609) 694-4390.