Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Sal Cortale, June 19, 2013

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Today's date is June 19, 2013. This is Brittany Le Strange interviewing Sal--it's Cortale?

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Sal Cortale.

00:00:16 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript: Um, how old are you, Mr. Cortale?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale describes his many roles as executive director of Project Paul. Also, he explains that he enjoys working with this non-profit organization and talks about the areas in which Project Paul distributes its help towards.

Keywords: Area; Bayshore; Christ's Church; Clifton Beach; Facebook; Furniture; Helping; Job; Keansburg; Neighborhood; Project Paul; Red Bank; Salary; St.Mark's; Town; Volunteer; Work

GPS: Project Paul (Keansburg, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.447776, -74.133660
00:02:41 - Living in New Jersey

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Partial Transcript: And how long have you lived in New Jersey?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale says he has lived in New Jersey since 1984. He talks about where he likes to go to the shore, and talks about his local community in Keansburg.

Keywords: Beach; Community; Ethnicity; Irish; Keansburg; Long Beach Island; New Jersey; Schools; Seabright; Shore

GPS: St. Ann's Elementary School (Keansburg, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.448089, -74.134408
00:05:25 - First thoughts

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Partial Transcript: And, when did you first hear about the storm coming?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale explains that his first time hearing about the storm, he was not expecting too much from it. Even though nicknamed "Frankenstorm," Cortale barely prepared for the storm to come.

Keywords: First thoughts; Flood; Frankenstorm; Freehold; Keansburg; News; News forecast; Rain; Storm; Thunderstorms; Water

GPS: Freehold, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.259010, -74.273393
00:07:02 - Warnings of the storm to come

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Partial Transcript: Um, I'm trying to--do you believe there was adequate warning?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale explains that he believes the warnings were adequate but no one expected how big the storm actually became. He also shares how he received his information during this disaster.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Car; Evacuate; Experience; Facebook; Governor; Holmdale Patch; Home; House; Hurricane; Information; Keansburg; New Jersey; New Jersey State Emergency Information; Power; Storm; Warnings; Water; iPhone

00:10:09 - First day of the storm / mood of the community

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Partial Transcript: And what did you see that first day?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale explains the horrors he witnessed during the first day of the storm. He also tells about having to buy princess plug-in phones while the storm was going on since he didn't have one previously.

Keywords: Amusement parks; Building; Cars; Cell phone; Clean; Community; Coverage; Flood; Floors; Food; Home; Mood; Ocean; Phone; Shock; Store; Verizon; Water; iPhone

00:13:32 - How Project Paul helped the community / power outage / reopening of stores

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Partial Transcript: And how did you go about getting the day-to-na--sorry, the day-to-day necessities once you were down here and--

Segment Synopsis: Cortale reveals that he considers Project Paul to be a "mini-FEMA" for the community. He also shares that his organization gave help with clothing money to pay rent, and also food during their time of need.

Keywords: Damage; FEMA; Food; Freehold; Gas lines; Help; Hurricane Sandy; Lived; Money; Phone; Power outage; Renting; Services; Stores; Town; Water

00:15:58 - Gas shortage / mail services / trash cleanup

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Partial Transcript: And how were you able to get back and forth to work, um, with the gas shortages?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale explains how he was lucky enough to fill up both his and his wife's cars with gas before the storm. Therefore, he did not have to deal with too much of the gas shortage chaos. Although it took a while for the service to start back up, some people are still having to pick up their mail from their nearest post offices. Also, Cortale talks about the trash clean up and describes the volunteers who helped during that time.

Keywords: Car; Clean up; Cleanup; Cops; Dumpsters; Electricity; Floors; Food; Freehold; Gas; Gas Stations; Gas lines; Gas shortage; Generators; Help; Keansburg; Lucky; Mail; Neighborhood; Police; Post office; Project Paul; Service; Trash; Volunteers; Washington Ave; Work

GPS: Washington Avenue (Keansburg, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.447609, -74.135547
00:18:56 - Response of FEMA and insurance companies

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Partial Transcript: And how was your--how was dealing with the power companies?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale describes how lucky Project Paul was in terms of responses from insurance. With an almost immediate response from an insurance company, he tells that the clean up of Project Paul, owned by St. Ann's Church, was commenced rather quickly.

Keywords: Buildings; Church; Clean up; Experience; FEMA; Flood insurance; Impacting; Inspection; Insurance; Lucky; Monmouth; Power companies; Property; Renting; Response; Schools; Trenton

GPS: St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church (Keansburg, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.444365, -74.132910
00:21:01 - Public services of Keansburg after the storm

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Partial Transcript: Do you know if Keansburg insti--I can't think of the word--had a curfew during the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale discusses that a nearby Children's Place had even opened up to shelter families at this time of need. He also commends the work of the police and firemen in Keansburg.

Keywords: After the storm; Building; Business; Children's Place; Chris Christie; Churches; Communication; Community; Cope; Curfews; Emergency; Evacuation; Fire department; Fireman; Help; Home; Information; Internet; Keansburg; Police response; Response; Services; ShopRite; Social media; Staples; State; Storm

00:23:24 - Receiving and giving of aid

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Partial Transcript: And where did Project Paul get any aid from, or if you did get any?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale talks about Project Paul being covered under the Diocese of Trenton insurance policy. He also describes the struggles he faced trying to get Project Paul back up and running. He talks about the response of people, organizations, and the government in giving aid.

Keywords: Aid; Bell Labs; Chris Christie; Communities; Community; Contractors; Contributors; Diocese of Trenton; Donation; Electricity; Equipment; Experience; FEMA; Federal; Furniture; Gas; Generators; Home; Houses; Income; Insurance; Insurance companies; Internet; Job; Keansburg; Lost; Organization; Phones; Positions; Positive; Project Paul; Rebuild; Response; Salary; Sister; Small town; State; Stores; Superstorm; Tax money; Union Beach; Work

00:27:18 - Preparation of New Jersey

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Partial Transcript: Do you believe New Jersey in itself prepared adequately?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale describes his feelings on what he thought could be done to prevent such superstorms, such as the building of barriers. He also reveals the plans to create barrier islands outside of Manhattan for this reason, but of course, it would cost more money that people are not willing to pay.

Keywords: Area; Beach; Building; Changed; Cost; Damage; Dunes; Environment; Freak occurrence; Global warming; Houses; Keansburg; Magnitude; Manhattan; Money; New Jersey; New York City; Police station; Prepare; Prepared adequately; Room; Sandbagged; Storm; Superstorm; Taxes; Town; Union Beach; Water; Weather

GPS: Manhattan, Ny.
Map Coordinates: 40.782852, -73.970089
00:31:45 - Media coverage / elevation maps

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Partial Transcript: How'd you feel about the media coverage? Do you feel that it was like accurate, or sensational? Horrible?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale believes that the media coverage was accurately portrayed. Also, he goes on to describe the elevation maps of Keansburg.

Keywords: Accurate; Adequate; Building; Business; Contractors; Coverage; Damage; Daughters; Dinner; Doors; Driving; Elevation maps; Emergency; FEMA; Flood; Freehold; Help; Helping; Houses; Hurricane; Impacting; Insurance; Keansburg; Lived; Media; Perspective; Project Paul; Rebuild; Seasons; Sensational; Shore; Storm; Town; Window

GPS: Keansburg, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.441469, -74.129592
00:35:49 - Opinion of President Obama and Governor Christie / response from the rest of the country

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Partial Transcript: What did you think about Obama and Governor Christie?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale tells how he feels as though the president and governor's moves to help during the time of need was a good choice on their part. Also, he describes the outstanding amount of people willing to help and donate for those in need.

Keywords: Area; Barack Obama; Chris Christie; Churches; Construction; Country; Democrats; Donated; Facebook; Floors; Food; Governor; Governor Christie; Help; Keansburg; New Jersey; Office; Politics; President Obama; Republicans; Response; Union Beach; Volunteer

00:39:23 - Normalcy / impact on the election

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Partial Transcript: Have you--would you say things have returned to normal around here?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale describes that things have almost returned back to normal, but not quite. Also, he believes that the president would have had to show up in a time like this while the governor showing up earned him more points in terms of impacting the election.

Keywords: Beach; Chris Christie; Church; Community; Election; Help; Helping; House; Houses; Impacting; Information; Insurance companies; Normal; Outlook; President; Presidential campaign; Relocated; Storm; World

00:42:22 - Message of the storm

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Partial Transcript: If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

Segment Synopsis: Cortale discusses his interpretations of the message from the storm being to let go of negativity and come together as a community. He also believes people should be more educated on global warming and climate change to prevent such horrible storms in the future.

Keywords: Community; Damage; Destruction; Federal government; Flooding; Global warming; Impacting; Job; Keansburg; Legacy; Magnitude; Message; Money; New Jersey; Radio; Renting; Storm; Union Beach; Weather