New Jersey native living in Orange Park trying to help his hometown | News
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- An Orange Park man who grew up in New Jersey has seen from afar the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in the town where he grew up, and where his mother lives. Now he is trying to do something to help the town rebuild.
Skot Wilson of Orange Park spent the first 17 years of his life growing up in Union Beach, New Jersey. He's kept a close eye on the devastating damage to his home town and now he wants to lend a helping hand.
Looking at a photo of a house half gone, he said, "This house is a hundred and fifty years old. I went trick or treating there as a kid."
Wilson sees first hand the damage on a Facebook page created by the Union Beach community, population 6,200. He communicates with them daily, offering support from many miles away.
"I can't tell you how many times I have cried. It's my home you know, it's where I played little league, I marched in parades in my little league uniform," said Wilson.
Now those streets are underwater and strewn with parts of 200 damaged homes. Fifty homes were completely destroyed. They have plenty of food, water and clothes. Wilson is working on staging a trailer in Orange Park to collect items like washers, dryers, microwaves and furniture. Police chief Scott Willy is a childhood friend, so Wilson is asking local law enforcement agencies to donate older police cars to replace the four they lost.
"The bigger items are what I am focusing on, the things that can't easily be replaced. That and building supplies. Old tools, hammers, tape measure, drywall. Items they can use to rebuild. It will help give them a semblance of normalcy."
Wilson has his own Facebook page Unite for Union Beach, New Jersey where he will have information on his efforts to collect donations to rebuild his home town. Wilson said the people there are Jersey strong. Many who have lost all are helping others. It's the least he can do.
"I'm amazed, I am proud of my town, I am proud of what made me."
Skot is looking for volunteers who might provide a truck, people who can sit and take donations. He needs the extra help as he works full time and goes to Florida State College at Jacksonville. He can be reached at 592-7482