Category Archives: Jennifer L. Grazioso

Business Feature: Kostas Grill

Gus Stavrides, proprietor of Kostas Grill,  moved from Greece to the United States in 1981.  He started out in New York City in the construction business and later opened a store front with custom furniture.  In 1988 he moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where he continued to make custom furniture for 26 years.  He enjoyed the opportunity to create furniture for his customers and now delicious Greek food.

Gus’ wife Roni has been visiting the shore town of Tuckerton, since 1967.  Many memorable summers were spent enjoying the sun and surf.  Over the years their shore house had become the meeting point between the New York and Baltimore families; summers and some holidays were celebrated there.

Gus and Roni recently relocated and started their new chapter in Tuckerton and wanted to offer the community something new.  On February 2, 2016 they opened Kostas Grill for lunch and after 3 weeks they extended it to lunch and dinner.

Maria, daughter of Gus and Roni, who graduated with a Bachelor’s  degree in business administration and information systems has joined the team to assist her parents with their new endeavor. Their son, Gerry, is a sous chef in Baltimore, Maryland.  His wife, Rianna, a head chef,  is expecting their first baby, a boy; also the first grandchild.

“What would you recommend if someone never had Greek food before?”

Gus replied, “Avgolemono Chicken Soup (traditional egg and lemon broth, chicken and orzo); any of the salads; Lamb Shanks (lamb shank, orzo, light tomato sauce); Rack of Lamb (grilled New Zealand lamb, and  giant beans); Moussaka (layers of potato, eggplant, seasoned ground beef and béchamel); Spanakopita (spinach, feta cheese and phyllo).

“What are some of the top menu items that customers are coming back for again and again?”

Gus answered, “Gyro, Souvlaki, Burgers, and salads.”

The Gyro is probably the one menu item most have heard of or have tried.  It is a combination of lamb and beef with Greek spices cooked on a vertical rotisserie.  It is cut to order and placed in a pita with tomatoes, onions, feta, and tzatziki sauce (cucumber, fresh dill, garlic, and Greek yogurt).











Souvlaki, chicken or pork, is marinated and grilled with special spices.

Let me tell you a little about the burgers.  They offer three different kinds:  Greek American Burger is an 8 oz. short rib and chuck blend on a brioche bun, stacked with gyro, fries and feta cheese with all the fixings; Kostas Lamb Burger is a freshly ground (every morning) with Greek spices and spicy feta spread on a Brioche Bun; and the Saganaki Burger is a short rib and chuck blend with grilled eggplant and Kefalograviera (a sharp provolone-like cheese) served on a Brioche Bun.  Okay my mouth is watering….which one sounds delicious to you?  I will try the Greek American!

Kostas Grill offers 5 different salads:  Greek is a chopped iceberg, tomato, cucumber, peppers, red onion, pepperoni, kalamata olive, and feta with a house vinaigrette; Athens is a baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, chick peas, and feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon; Kostas is a shredded romaine, scallion, kalamata olive, feta cheese, lemon-dill dressing; Super Greek is kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, radicchio, Napa cabbage, golden raisins, kalamata olives, feta cheese and house vinaigrette; and Beet Salad is honey roasted beets, baby kale, manouri cheese, balsamic vinegar.


Gus uses only the best ingredients:  The extra virgin olive oil is rated #4 in the world, Iliada. The oregano is from Greece, as well as the kalamata olives as well as all the cheeses.  He can’t wait for the Jersey tomatoes.  They will be delicious in the Athenian Shrimp dish (sautéed shrimp with garlic, onions, parsley, tomato and feta served over orzo).

He wants his customers  to experience Greek food as he did as a child.  “Local, fresh and seasonal,” Gus shared.

What item surprised you that customers ordered that you thought they wouldn’t?

“My wife was hesitant to put the octopus on the menu however it is sold out every day. As a matter of fact, a gentleman came in and ordered it and returned with his wife to have her try it. Our customers mention how perfectly cooked it is and how much they enjoyed it as they leave the restaurant.  Many customers also say “We’ll be back!”


“Do you offer items for vegetarians?”

“Yes, absolutely. Any of the salads are vegetarian.  “Also, our fresh spinach mac ‘n’ cheese, the veggie pita, tzatziki, spanakopita and the saganaki (flaming cheese with pita) are great vegetarian choices.”

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!  The Baklava is divine!  You can have it plain, in a sundae or with olive oil and sea salt ice cream.  Ask for the Greek coffee it is so good.


I had a very nice time sitting down with Gus discussing how he got to this point and his goals for the restaurant.  He is a genuine gentleman.  He truly wants the customer to enjoy their experience at the restaurant.

So, if you don’t know what’s for dinner…then the answer is Kostas Grill in Tuckerton.

They will offer catering soon.  Watch for details on their website.


Kostas Grill is open Tuesday thru Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 7:00pm; closed Monday.  They are located at 161 E. Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087.




Preserve your History ~ Start Writing your Story today!

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media announces the release of two special titles. This collection will bring new ideas and prompts for you to write and preserve your personal history.  Each book is filled with questions to help you remember the details of your life. Take the time to invest in your legacy, pick up your copies today!

Continue reading Preserve your History ~ Start Writing your Story today!

Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids!

Cedar Fort is proud to announce the March release of “Reverie: A Coloring Retreat” by Mysha Denson.

Are you an adult who loves to color?  Do you need to relieve some stress at a busy corporate office?  Here is your perfect opportunity!  With this amazing coloring book, you can show everyone that you truly mastered staying in the lines.  Relax your mind and color with your kids, your family, or even your boss!

This new coloring book by Mysha Denson was appropriately named“Reverie” which is “a state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts.”
Step back from life’s stresses and color your way to reverie.  Enjoy this series of delightful Church-themed illustrations including the Garden of Eden, the Sacred Grove, and LDS symbols and sayings, all ready to be turned into beautiful works of art.


MYSHA DENSON not only inherited over-lapping toes from her dad but also a deep desire to create.  She was blessed to have parents who supported her in her creative endeavors her entire life by providing her tools, cameras, and raw goods.  Mysha met her husband Jason at Utah State University, who knew she was majoring in art and married her anyway.  He has continually supported and encouraged her in her artistic pursuits for the last decade and has never once complained when there are piles of sawdust or art supplies on the table instead of dinner.  The majority of Mysha’s right brain is now used for creating dress-ups, personalized coloring pages, and room decor on demand for her three daughters.

I found “Reverie, A Coloring Retreat” by Mysha Denson,  to be light and airy with lots of room to add your own drawings.  I would definitely recommend giving as a gift.   Coloring is certainly a great way to relieve stress and I quited enjoy sitting down in the evening coloring a page or two. ~ Jennifer L. Grazioso, The Forked River Gazette, NJ 


A True Love Story

Written By Jennifer L. Grazioso

Love at first sight? Not this time. However, this is a love that is priceless. A true fairy-tale romance.

I had the absolute privilege to interview Faye Roeber, widow of David Roeber, July 14, 2015.

I met Faye Mackres when she moved here from Greece with her family in her freshman year of high school.  Her school counselor paired her schedule up with David Roeber.  Faye also joined cross country, of which David also was a team member.

When asked was it love at first sight?  Faye replied, “No, he would tease me.” Continue reading A True Love Story

Business Feature: Omorfia Salon & Spa

Lacey Hair and Nail has been a cornerstone of Lacey Township for 31 years.  The original owners Pat, Mary Ann, and Sandy opened its doors in 1983 and spent many successful years together cutting and styling hair.  They sold the salon in 2005 to Mary Jane, whom owned the salon for 9 years.

I recently had the pleasure to sit with Olga, new owner of Omorfia Salon & Spa, and her mother Mary Siampos, formerly Lacey Hair and Nail Salon.

Since Olga was a small child she was always interested in hair cutting.  “She had a My Little Pony, a large one, and Cabbage Patch Dolls that she enjoyed braiding and cutting its hair,” said Mary, Olga’s mother.

After high school Olga intended to become a teacher, however it was when a friend of hers said she was off to beauty school at Paul Mitchell in Downington, Pennsylvania that she sparked an interest.  She and her mother drove out to the school and there was an instant love for the school.  She graduated in two years proceeding to meander from Manahawkin to Sayerville to Toms River salons.  Olga just not finding the right fit for herself.  Continue reading Business Feature: Omorfia Salon & Spa

Feature Story: Corey Hudson

Early this fall,  I attended the Maker’s Festival in Manahawkin and was instantly drawn to one particular stall with hand-made wooden art pieces.  As I spoke to the artisan behind the table he was enthusiastic to share about how and why he created his art.

At just twenty-five years old, Corey Hudson attended art school starting in Florida and then in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.  During his studies he found a niche of interior decorating for bars and restaurants. Before even graduating he started designing murals for bars and restaurants in Philly, which he truly enjoyed the freedom to paint his ideas.

During this time he often hoped to find something that would allow him to work creating his art rather than it just being a hobby.  In 2012 when Hurricane Sandy brought damage to so many, Corey found a way to save the history and share his art with others in turn bringing the leftover wreckage into something meaningful.

After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in 2012, Corey volunteered in Belmar.  Each morning he signed in at the Municipal Building and was given a task.  While walking around to hand out literature to residents, Corey noticed the grey resin boardwalk making its way down the road.  Since the road was still covered in water.  Garbage men were just taking the boardwalk and throwing it away.  Additional wood from the houses and businesses were being piled up in numerous locations to be carried away to places unknown.  Corey inquired about the where the remains of boardwalk would be going and received many different responses.  The one that hit home was it was being burned or buried.  “How can you burn history?” said Corey.  There is so much history in these boards.  So, from that day forward Corey decided he would volunteer on his task, typically 16th Street  and then pile wood in houses that were not occupied until he could come back for it.  One of many weeks spent at Belmar, Corey brought is kids with him to assist.  They helped with bagging clothes and unloading foods.  During these weeks they discovered bench fencing and sections of pre-1950’s 2×4.  All of these great finds eventually made it back to Corey’s house and protected under his deck until he decided what to do with these treasured pieces. Continue reading Feature Story: Corey Hudson

Lighthouse International Film Fest: A Must See!

By Jennifer L. Grazioso

The Lighthouse International Film Festival has proven to be quite the event to attend.  I have seen five films over the last four days and each one was a pleasure to view.

lighthouse international film fest

The first one, Finder Keepers, was one of my favorites for its sheer wackiness as well as a lovely underlying story of courage.

My second film, Abby Singer, Songwriter, was my least favorite.  It was kind of all over the place and I still don’t understand the title.  There was no Abby.

Yesterday, I viewed three in a row, which were all very different but very well done.

The first, Antarctic Edge:  70° South, was an eye-opening film that left me questioning climate change.  The film took place at Palmer Station, located at the Antarctica where the conditions are extreme, harsh and dangerous.  Scientists spend time tracking, taking samples, and photographing (breathtaking images) the wildlife (Adelie penguins, seals and whales).  They also are monitoring the temperatures, winter vs. summer ice, and the sea life, i.e. krill.  Krill are especially important on the food chain for the whales and penguins.  As I watched the film I was in awe and often stuck with chills while listening  to the facts of how a 100 year storm could turn into a 10 year storm.   We are still cleaning up from Sandy and people are still without their home.  I think we need to start thinking of change!

My second film, Top Spin, was about Table Tennis as known also Ping Pong.  It took us through the day in and day out of children practicing, training and competing to achieve their Olympic goal.  It was very interesting to see the United States battle against the very competitive Chinese, who are #1; USA is #25.

The last film, Safelight, was my favorite.  It has a great storyline and wonderful actors and actresses.  The main actor, Evan Peters struggles with confidence and falling for a girl who is prostitute.  He often puts himself in danger for her.  The two wind up traveling the California coast photographing lighthouses for a contest he enters for high school.  During the trip, he gains confidence and she realizes she can leave the horrible life and start fresh.

I will definitely will attend the event next year and look forward to the many wonderful films they have to offer.


I want to personally thank Christine Rooney and Jill Voshell PR at Lighthouse International Film Festival.


Review of Finders Keepers

Written:  By Jennifer L. Grazioso

Lighthouse International Film Festival started its 7th year last night with its opening film, “Finders Keepers”.

finders keepers

The film begins over a storage unit in Maiden, North Carolina. Shannon Whisnant bid the highest and won the contents of this unit at an auction.  Shannon shockingly discovered an object that he thought was driftwood inside a BBQ smoker, however with another look he was realized was a foot, a as matter of fact a human left foot.

The owner of said foot is John Wood, who lost his leg in a 2004 plane crash.  John’s father, Tom Wood, perished in the crash.  This was an extremely difficult time for John and his family.  After leaving the hospital, John spent his time recovering from the accident at home with his mother, Peg.  John became addicted to the pain killers as well as alcohol and wound up losing his family and friends due to his poor choices.

Shannon throughout the film was a quite a character and very funny to watch.  He became known to friends as “The Foot Man” or simply “foot”.  He really felt since he held the receipt for the smoker, that  this foot was his and he really did everything to hold on to it.  He asked John to split custody, because this was such a great opportunity for business.  There was a sign portrayed for seeing the “BBQ Foot Smoker” for $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for kids.  His license plate read, “FTSMOKER”.  He even had a website, to sell T-shirts and hats.

The foot wound up being confiscated by the police, who took it to the local funeral home, where it stayed until they appeared on the Judge Mathis Show.

John and his family really didn’t want any part of this media nightmare and wanted to put this “foot” thing to rest.  His sister, thought once John did get the foot back, possibly John could finally have some closure and move forward in life in a positive manner.

Both John and Shannon appeared on the Judge Mathis Show and it was determined that the foot would be returned to John and Shannon would be awarded $5,000.  During the show taping, producers noticed John was desperately in need of treatment.  They offered to send him to a phenomenal treatment facility, where he was able to get the help he needed.

Later after treatment John’s mom was given an opportunity to thank Judge Mathis for helping her son.


After the film, John Wood was there to answer questions:

How do you feel about the film?

“It is a great tribute for my family and dad.”

Are you still in touch with Shannon?

“No, I keep a healthy distance.”

How was the process of making the film?

“It is not for everybody.”

Would you consider going into acting after doing his film?

“See what perspires!”  Note:  this was a word commonly mispronounced throughout the film and he didn’t mind poking fun at Shannon.

“Sobriety has delivered everything alcohol promised,” stated John Wood.

It was an absolutely amazing film, funny and heartwarming.   John Wood is simply a courageous man.  This film really can bring hope to others who are in a dark place.

I am very excited to attend the film tonight, Abbey Singer, Songwriter at Long Beach island Foundation Arts and Sciences.  It really is a great opportunity to have this Film Festival right in our own backyard. Come on over to the Island and enjoy one or many films this weekend!
lighthouse international film fest




Beyond Giving


Before Hurricane Sandy had entered our area on October 29, 2012, people began to get ready…water, batteries, non-perishable food, etc were all emptied from store shelves. However, I don’t think anyone had any idea how this would change our lives forever. Hurricane Sandy, also known as the Superstorm, had no remorse, the wind and water were relentless.

It wound up being the largest Atlantic hurricane on record with a diameter of winds spanning 820 miles. IHS Global Insight estimates a loss of $25 billion due to Sandy. Over 8 million lost power in 17 states and more than one hundred people died. More information go to:

While watching the news, checking my Facebook account, and talking to friends and business clients about the devastation I thought that there has to be good that comes out of this. And sure enough, there was an outpouring of volunteers, churches, businesses and schools coming together to support one another during the aftermath of Sandy. I wanted to share with you all the heart-warming stories I have heard:

It all started with the Lacey United Methodist Church. I kept hearing their name from many people and decided I best stop by and find out all the buzz. The volunteers were busy separating non-perishable food, paper products, baby products, you name it they had it; and LOTS of donations. I was inspired as well to bring in some items for them. I had heard they needed diabetic meters, which I had extra of, since my daughter is diabetic. There was so much going on in that wonderful church: people dropping off donations, eating a meal, coming in to pick-up products, and volunteers working. It was truly amazing.

Who was running this fine tuned machine? The amazing women is Rev. Applegate and she should be commended for her great leadership during such a crucial period. I was very curious to learn about how many volunteers there were. She said ” In the beginning, not many, now about 600 + on record.”

“Chief Nally did a wonderful job during this difficult time,” stated Rev. Applegate.

Rev. Applegate would also like to thank, Greg Edgecomb, who spearheaded the emergency training. He worked with crews to service 250 homes in Lacey, Ocean Gate, Bayville, and Waretown; they ripped up carpet, lugged furniture, cleaned, etc.

Furthermore, I proceeded to ask about how many meals had gone out since the storm. “9,000 meals”, according to Rev. Applegate. In addition, she is so grateful to Eric DelaCruz and the kitchen crew for all the meals they prepared; in-house and the ones that went out to the community.

She would like to thank Lacey Women’s Club as well for their participation in helping with laundry for those displaced.

Rev. Applegate shared with me how all the churches were working together, it didn’t matter about the denomination.

As a result, I then decided to call the other churches to get their stories as well.

Members of Village Lutheran Church have been working with Lacey United Methodist Church in providing meals for those in need. Moreover, Pastor Mike of Village Lutheran Church had informed me of a ministry lead by Pastor Ed of Shepherds Heart Disasters Response Ministry. This is a religious organization showing love of Jesus after natural disasters by offering free tree and debris removal to the uninsured, underinsured and low-income families. They cover an area from Manahawkin to Brick.

Tracy, Pastor Mike’s wife, then elaborated about the phone messages they have been receiving from people who are in need of this service. At this moment she has a women volunteering to empty her voicemail yet it is still full. They had at least 500 phone calls to respond to and disperse their teams. If you are in need of assistance with a tree that fell down due to Sandy please call 609-314-2686.

Also  Shepherd’s Heart is looking for experienced chainsaw teams who can come to Lanoka Harbor, NJ December 16-23 or December 23-29.

Tracy also told me they have been helping their own church members with cars they lost as well as repairs in their homes and more.

The Church is providing an Internet Café. There is free internet and phone charging with delicious coffee.

The Forked River Presbyterian Church was extremely impressed with the efforts at Lacey United Methodist Church. In the beginning, Rev. Dr. Terry Chapman opened the doors for all to come in and warm-up as well as sandwiches and coffee while you charged your cell phones. However, he felt this was too redundant, so he later sent all of his volunteers to support the Methodist Church.

The church volunteers also mucked out houses and helped cut down trees.

Family Promise is a group that cares for homeless families by providing dinner, overnight housing, and breakfast in host churches for one week at a time, every three months. They work in partnership with the Lacey United Methodist Church to provide dinners, evening hosts and other necessities. They also support
the groups in our area that are seeking a shelter for the homeless in Ocean County and affordable housing for the working poor.

Ann, who was very pleasant, at St. Pius Church X, stated they were partnering with Rev. Applegate at Lacey United Methodist Church. St. Pius took clothing from Lacey United Methodist Church, so Rev. Applegate could house more people in the beginning. Anne said, “Rev. Applegate is going to help St. Pius put a task force together for the next time, so we are more prepared.”

St. Pius took a collection from the parishioners to help fund breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as homebound people who also needed food. They also did laundry for many people. They collected clothes and toiletries, ShopRite Wal-Mart, and WaWa Gift Cards as well.

The center is closed now, however they are working with displaced families long-term to find rentals. They are also helping people with bedding, household goods, and furniture.

“It was a horrible thing, but a lot of good came out of it,” Anne stated.

The caring for others didn’t just stay within churches, the school systems joined in as well. Tommy Parlapanidis in the Superintendent’s Office at Central Regional’s School said “It was a complete group effort”. Their staff really stepped up and did a fabulous job. Barbara in transportation who was supposed to
be on vacation that week came in to organize the buses to bring people in from Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, South Seaside, etc to the school.

Bruce in the cafeteria worked on providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the men, women and children at the shelter. Tommy would like to thank Chris from The Forked River House for the pizzas.

As of right now Central is collecting Gatorade, cereal, water, power bars, etc. for the Fireman and Policeman who are working endlessly in Seaside. If you would like to help out please call (732) 269-1100 ext. 218.

Southern Regional School District had a Storm Recovery Center set up immediately after Hurricane Sandy, which is still up and running. They received an influx of donations such as cleaning supplies, clothing, bedding, food plus many more items. The Center coordinated teams to rip and tear out damaged dry wall, furniture, etc inside 600 + homes in Stafford and Long Beach Island. These teams started out with school teachers and more than 500 people volunteered. “The Storm Recovery Center is grateful for all the donations and the volunteer effort,” remarked Betty.

They are conducting a Toy Drive; collecting Christmas decorations and coats. Please drop off any of your donations to 775 E. Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ 08050. If you are in need of any of the over mentioned items please call (609) 597-5113 and make an appointment to come and shop.

The Toms River Regional Schools are committed to supporting our school families affected by Hurricane Sandy, too. “Our commitment to the community began as soon as the storm hit.” The Toms River Regional bus drivers under the direction of Margaret Donnelly, mobilized and began rescuing storm victims from flooded areas. The buses continued to transport people, first responders, and supplies to storm ravaged areas.

The Red Cross operated the High School North shelter. The High School East shelter was run by Toms River Regional Schools with the assistance of OEM and Toms River Township.

The Toms River Township Detective Bureau moved into the shelter and provided security, assistance, and community support. The East Dover Fire Department moved into HSE for four days when their fire house flooded. They would like to send their gratitude Chef Murray for his culinary expertise at HSE.

Many people have asked how they can help. This website was created with resources and information to help link storm victims needs with assistance:

Donations to the TRRS Hurricane Relief Fund in the form of a check are welcome, please send them to: TRRS Hurricane Relief Fund at 1144 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753. Drop off donations at: 943 Fischer Blvd., Toms River, NJ 08753 on Monday- Friday 10-2 or Saturday and Sunday 10-3.

People’s Pantry Needs: laundry and dish detergent, new pillows, suitcases, blankets, cat, kitten, and dog food, Vicks Vapor Rub, cleaning supplies, contractor bags, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, jelly, adult underwear (new), dry milk, sugar, tea, soda, salad dressing, bread quart size zip lock bags, hairspray, gel, mousse, antibiotic creams, double, queen and king sized sheets, alcohol swabs, plastic cups and flashlights. All size batteries, paper towels, and index cards.

Any questions contact: Tammi Millar (732) 818-8536, email: or view our Facebook page: People’s Pantry.

Besides churches and schools many restaurants were beyond generous in giving to those in need.

I visited Captain’s Inn to speak with Chef Robert Varga who told me he cooked multiple meals for the Methodist Church. Chef Bob would put together a buffet: a variety of salads, pasta dishes, as well as many protein dishes and sides. “Linda Applegate did such an amazing job!” remarked Chef Bob.

He also cooked meals for Central Regional High School, Toms River East and First Responders at Seaside Bridge.

Chef Bob also worked with suppliers, who donated milk and protein shakes. These products were in turn brought directly to Lacey Methodist Church.

“It was a team effort between owners, suppliers, staff and myself”, he said with a kind gesture.

The Forked River German Butcher has been a cornerstone in Lacey Township for over 40 years and has always reached out to help others. Heidi Barsch, daughter of owner Wolfgang Barsch, spoke highly of Rev. Applegate. The Butcher cooked breakfast for Lacey Methodist Church as well as for the Police and Firemen. They also donated soup and hot sandwiches to Forked River Baptist Church. Whenever, Lacey United Methodist Church reached out, whether it was meatballs or salad The German Butcher would reach back.

“We cooked all the turkeys, some of which were donated by customers, for the Methodist Church,” Heidi states.

Heidi’s brother, Andrew and his wife Michelle also delivered hot meals to a 90-year old couple in Forked River who didn’t have electric for 8 days.

The Dutchman Brauhaus donated all their food to Southern Regional High School and the Fire Department. The Dutchman worked very hard to provide hot meals for those who were working to move us forward. He made sandwiches and soup for the emergency workers, police, contractors, public work crews who come and go from Long Beach Island every day. They feed as many as 35 people a day.

“It’s going to be a difficult move forward, that’s for sure,” stated David , owner of Dutchman.

David and his brother are holding numerous fundraisers, one of which is for Habitat for Humanity on December 8th. See ad in Gazette. A large portion of the donation will go to Habitat for Humanity.

Another restaurant that caught my attention was Meat BBQ Co. located in Forked River has been in business for 13 months now. Matt, the owner, worked with a non-profit operation BBQ Relief Company as well as volunteers set up in New Jersey and New York to serve over 109,000 people. They reached areas from Ocean, Monmouth, and Hudson counties to Long Island, New York. Matt also had people nominate families in need in Lacey Township for 10 full Thanksgiving dinners; including everything from the turkey, sides, to dessert. This was completely confidential.

We cannot forget the utilities who helped and worked endless hours to get our power back on, one which came from another state to lend a hand. I was so amazed how easy it was to get a person when I reached out to Alabama Power. I asked to speak to someone about the crew and their amazing work they accomplished after Sandy. And sure enough I had a response in one day. Not only that but they had someone check to be sure that a person had returned my call. Now that is truly a company with customer service!

I know there are so many more people out there to write about most importantly the police department, fire department, EMT’s, first responders, and volunteers. To each of them we all say THANK YOU for always being there for us.

We are quite thankful for the State Troopers who traveled from 13 different states in the aftermath of Sandy. Sadly one of the Trooper’s, Kyle Deatherage, was killed in a traffic stop soon after returning from spending weeks helping our community.

Our deepest sympathy go out to his family.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost family members and friends due to Sandy.

I would like to also thank all those who shared their story for my Gazette readers. I was truly inspired by all the people I interviewed and hope others will be too.

When a bottle is broken on the shore and then enters the water as broken glass; it tumbles through the sand and goes through many tides of waves some rough and some calm. The tides can be relentless bringing the glass onto shore again and again, softening the edges. Eventually turning into this beautiful sea glass, which children look for on the beach. I have wonderful memories looking for sea glass with my mom, walking on the Jersey Shore as well as the shores of the Sound in Long Island, New York.

What was once broken can become something lovely and beautiful with time. We are strong…Jersey Strong!

By Jennifer Grazioso, Publisher