Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Paul Smith, September 4, 2013

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: My name is Trudi-Ann Lawrence. Today is September 4th.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Paul Smith.

00:00:06 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript: And can you state your name?

Segment Synopsis: Smith reveals why he and his wife had chosen to live in the house in which they currently reside. He also describes that his community is very close-knit and sticks together in times of crisis.

Keywords: Area; Bedrooms; Build; Community; Cost; Daughters; Economic; Ethnicity; Family; Home; House; Income; Moved; Neighborhood; Occupation; Rooms; Salary; Schools; Town; Union Beach; Work

GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.446436, -74.178087
00:02:25 - First word of the storm / day of the storm

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Partial Transcript: So when you first heard the storm was coming, what were your expectations?

Segment Synopsis: Smith talks about not expecting anything any worse than Hurricane Irene upon word of Hurricane Sandy. He also goes on to explain that people in his area were not quite as afraid for the storm only because storms of this kind do not usually hit that area as badly as others.

Keywords: Bayfront; Beachfront; Car; Conditions; Emergency; Expect; Flood; Florida; Hit; Home; House; Hurricane Irene; Hurricane Sandy; Insurance companies; Lucky; Nor'easter; Power; Preparations; Rain; Rainy; Safety; Sandy; Storm; Town; Water; Weather; Windy; Work

00:06:05 - Day after the storm / damages / mood of the community

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Partial Transcript: So, when you woke up the next day--like, did you go to sleep the night of the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes how he and his family actually watched the water enter their home during the storm. He describes the town the day after the storm as appearing as though it had been hit by bombs.

Keywords: Bayfront; Beachfront; Beds; Cats; Community; Damage; Doors; Fix; Flood insurance; Floors; Florida; Furniture; Help; Home; Hurricane Katrina; Insurance companies; Katrina; Lucky; Mood; Mortgage; Night; Power; Rooms; Shock; Sleep; Storm; TV; Town; Water; Work

00:08:59 - Resumption of power and trash cleanup / support from FEMA

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So who did you contact the first day?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes the government support from both political parties after the storm. He talks about power outages, trash pickup, and says that the lines at gas stations were huge after Hurricane Sandy. He also goes in-depth about the process of cleaning up and FEMA's support after the storm. He talks about the elections shortly after the storm.

Keywords: Area; Beach; Borough Hall; Cell phones; Cleanup; Construction; Contact; Curfews; Debris; Election; FEMA; Fire; Firehouse; Flood; Gas; Gas stations; Governor; Help; Home; Hurricane Sandy; Insurance companies; Lived; Looters; Normal; Phone; Police department; Power; President; Protocol; Rooms; Sandy; State; Storm; Street; Support; Town; Trash; Verizon; Work

GPS: Borough Hall (Union Beach, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.439421, -74.179293
00:13:00 - Coping of the community / aid the community received

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Partial Transcript: Um, how did you notice, between yourself and the community members, how did you notice coping?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes his sense of feeling safe in his neighborhood with the help of the presence of first responders. He also discusses a charity from Taiwan which gave his town $420,000 for recovery. Another organization focusing on schools and created from the tragedy of 9/11 had given every member of the school who was affected by Hurricane Sandy a $1,000 gift card.

Keywords: Aid; Blanket; Brother; Church; Clean up; Community; Coping; Country; Devastating; Emergency; Federal government; Flooding; Food; Gateway Church Of Christ; Governor; Help; Home; Insurance; Keansburg; Kids; Lights; Lived; Lost; Money; Positive; Rebuild; Religious communities; Rescue; Roof; Safe; School; State; Storm; Volunteers; Work

GPS: Brooke Avenue (Union Beach, Nj.)
Map Coordinates: 40.447307, -74.164209
00:20:18 - Losses of the community / response to the storm

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Partial Transcript: Um, can you describe the losses of the, the town that you've noticed?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses how long it took the local businesses to reopen after Sandy hit. He also shares that the response the community got was good from all ends.

Keywords: Beach; Bedrooms; Businesses; Church; Clean; County; Damage; Expect; Federal government; Firehouse; Flooding; Governor; Highway; Home; House; Local government; Losses; Lucky; Mess; Message; Negative; Phone; Positive; Rebuild; Response; State; Stores; Storm; Street; Town; Union Beach; Water; Work

00:25:14 - Preparations for the storm / president and governor's appearance / environmental views / normalcy

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Partial Transcript: Do you believe that New Jersey did everything that they could prep--to prepare for the storm adequately?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes the help from the governor and how he is never happy with the negative information the media portrays. He also states that the appearance of both President Obama and Governor Christie in the area was very beneficial.

Keywords: Appearance; Area; Election; Environment; Flooding; Governor; Help; Helping; Higher ground; Home; House; Kids; Media; Moved; Negative; New Jersey; Normal; Normalcy; Politics; Positive; Prepare; President; School; Schools; Sensationalized; Storm; Town; Water; Work; World

00:28:49 - Changes to daily life and outlook on the community

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Partial Transcript: Um, are there any changes to your daily life?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes making improvements to his neighborhood while others were still trying to get monetary assistance for their homes and how that felt. He also describes how it was to experience the complaining of others in the community at meetings.

Keywords: Beachfront; Building; Church; Community; County; Election; Governor; Help; Helping; Home; House; Impacting; Insurance; Lost; Lucky; Money; Mortgage; President; State; Union Beach; Voting

00:35:03 - Word of advice / legacy of the storm

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Partial Transcript: Um, from one town official to another comparing to the past events of Moore, Oklahoma, what's a word of advice that you would be able to pass on from one to another?

Segment Synopsis: Smith states that the disaster in Moore, Oklahoma was different than what happened with Hurricane Sandy, yet the commonality is devastation that needs to be followed by positive reinforcements. He also believes that the 'Stronger than the Storm' ads with the governor were not about what took place but about tourism and making more money.

Keywords: Business; Community; Devastating; Devastation; Election; Fortunate; Governor; Help; Home; Insurance companies; Jersey Shore; Legacy; Message; Money; Moore, Oklahoma; Mother Nature; Positive; Rain; State; Storm; Strong; Survived; Television; Water; Wind