CORNER BROOK As the cleanup and recovery begins from the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, one Newfoundland woman will be there to help.
Nancy Buckle is orignally from Corner Brook and has been living in New Jersey for the last seven years. She is one of the driving forces behind Live. Breathe. Grow., an apparel company that specializes in yoga wear.
Buckle spoke with The Western Star from her Woodbridge home on Tuesday afternoon, recounting what has been a terrifying few days.
“This is real life for me now,” she said. “It’s not just sitting in Newfoundland and watching the TV. This is real life and it’s going to be far reaching and it’s going to take a long time for recovery.”
She plans to do whatever she can to help others, but because she is three months pregnant she can’t get out into the rescue areas. Instead, she plans to open her home to friends who need a hot shower or a hot meal and has been letting them know her door is open via Facebook.
Her focus now is to “try to help anybody who needs it.”
In addition to her yoga company work, Buckle is also a property manager and on Saturday she and husband Maz Radwan began preparing.
“So we had a generator all lined up and our pump lined up and then on Saturday morning the generator broke,” said Buckle.
They called every Home Depot and Wal-Mart in New Jersey to find another one. When that didn’t work they started calling everywhere in the State of New York, and then the State of Pennsylvania and finally found one in Columbus, Ohio.
Buckle paid for the generator over the phone and on Sunday morning, she and Radwan drove eight hours to pick it up.
By now the storm had started and they had to drive through torrential rain and wind blowing their vehicle all over the road. On the way back they drove until 2 a.m. before stopping at a hotel to rest.
When they arrived back in New Jersey on Monday morning they went first to their apartment to take care of everything the best they could and then headed to the office building. They stayed there for the duration of the storm, sleeping on a blowup mattress in an empty office.
“We couldn’t leave it,” said Buckle. “We had to man it and make sure everything was going be OK.”
Radwan had to go outside every hour to check on things and, for Buckle, that brought fear.
Being pregnant all she could do was sit inside and wait for him. Each time he went out she made sure he took his cellphone.
“I can’t explain to you the sound of the wind and the trees moving back and forth and the power lines,” she said. “I can’t explain how scary that was and every time he walked out the door I literally was afraid he wasn’t going to come back in.”
Scared to look outside
The worst of the storm came between 4 p.m. and midnight.
“I was actually too scared to even look outside and watch it go on,” she said.
Without power or cell service, she couldn’t communicate with anyone on the outside, in particular her parents Marg and Andy Buckle here in Corner Brook.
The storm moved through faster than expected and Buckle said thankfully the building didn’t sustain any major damage. Some siding blew off and debris had to be cleaned up.
“But we were extremely lucky compared to the majority of people,” she said.
Buckle said the devastation all along the coastline of the Jersey shore and into New York is immense.
“There are houses that were lifted off their foundation and are now sitting in the road that I travel on each day.”
She said friends have lost their homes and others have had the roofs ripped off the tops of their buildings.
Manhattan is completely under water, mass transit all along the Eastern Seaboard has been shut down, including the New York subway system.
Buckle said all but about 15 of 165 exits along the Garden State Parkway have been closed.
Thankfully the ones open lay between the office building and Buckle’s apartment. Still it took them six tries to reach home Tuesday morning.
“Every road we went down there were just huge trees down across the road, into people’s houses, onto people’s cars. Every road we went down was blocked.”
However, once at home things improved. Buckle said they have power, even though some around them don’t. She also has cell and Internet service and much to her relief has been able to connect with her parents.
She said life was pretty much at a halt on Tuesday, which also happened to be Radwan’s birthday, but she’s sure things will start to sink in over the next week or so.