Sea Bright, New Jersey

Superstorm sandy

The rain and storm surge from October 2012’s Superstorm Sandy left three quarters of the homes and the entire business district of the oceanfront town of Sea Bright, New Jersey under water. Kathleen Koch, who had yet to create LeadersLink, heard from Mayor Dina Long and partnered her with former Waveland, Mississippi Mayor Tommy Longo. Waveland had been ground zero for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, crushed by the storm’s 125 mph winds and 30-foot storm surge. Longo made multiple trips to Sea Bright to survey the damage, meet with Long and prepare city staff for the long road ahead.

“I think the one-to-one mentoring was one of the most helpful things for me, a new mayor new to natural disasters and FEMA,” said Mayor Long. “Tommy was someone who truly understood the challenges I was going through because he’d been through it himself, but much, much worse. For the whole of the community, Tommy’s mentoring gave us strategic insight into our recovery planning, which is so crucial in the early days post-disaster when states are allocating recovery dollars.”