The era of barn raising may be over, but stories like this are still encouraging.
The beautiful and iconic Jersey shore was devastated by Super Storm Sandy on October 29th, 2012. The deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the year, as well as the second-costliest in United States history, it left a wide area unrecognizable. Although the storm wreaked havoc, it could not crush the spirit and determination of the residents. Quickly the rebuilding began, as the nation came together in support of recovery efforts.
Since the first attraction opened at the Seaside Heights borough in 1915, the area’s beach and boardwalk have symbolized the Jersey shore. The white sands, lively boardwalk, amusements and rides have made memories for visitors for decades. Today the rebuild of the Seaside Heights boardwalk continues, but through heroic efforts they are open for business this summer.
The handsome natural wood boardwalk is back and entertaining guests daily. One historic feature of the boardwalk was the “swing back” benches that lined the two mile stretch. The benches allow visitors to pick whether to gaze at the ocean or take in the sights of the shops, restaurants and games. Thanks to the efforts of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) and Cox Industries those benches are back. NAWLA President Gary Vitale, who spent his youth vacationing in the area, reached out to Cox’s VP of Marketing , Keith Harris, and the two arranged for more than 12,000 board feet of pressure treated lumber to be delivered to Seaside Heights. The donated material will replace 275 benches.
“We have a facility in NJ and several of our employees and dozens of our largest customers were also seriously impacted by the storm. This small gift was a way for us to help return some normalcy to the area,” said Keith Harris. “Knowing what the area looked like after the storm, it was a very good feeling to visit mayor William Akers and see families relaxing on the benches and taking in the sights.”
South Carolina based Cox Industries, supplies poles and crossarms to utilities and foundation piling to construction companies in New York and New Jersey, but their ties run much deeper. The general manager of their industrial division, Jim Healey, grew up near Seaside Heights, spending his summers as a life guard on the beach and bartending on the boardwalk. Jim said, “I have very fond memories of the area, the small businesses along the boardwalk and families that enjoyed them. The opportunity to give something back was special; a way to say thanks for those memories.”
Mayor Akers said “It is because of the efforts of groups like the North American Wholesale Lumber Association and generous donations like those from Cox industries that Seaside Heights was able to rebuild as quickly as we have and we will be forever grateful.”
According to a statement, “since 1954, Cox Industries has been a leading manufacturer and distributor of treated outdoor wood products for the residential, commercial, industrial and utility markets. Headquartered in Orangeburg, SC, this family-owned and operated company produces a variety of quality wood products—from decks, fences and framing to utility poles, docks, retaining walls and other specialty items. Included on the SC list of the 100 largest privately held companies (#28) for 2012, Cox operates 14 manufacturing facilities and 5 distribution yards and employs more than 400 people in 10 states. Cox brand-name products are distributed via select building supply dealers, specialty distributors, and utility companies throughout the eastern United States and overseas. Cox was recently named SC Manufacturer of the Year for 2011 and 2012 and received the Silver Crescent Award for Manufacturing Excellence. Cox has also been recognized as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s“South Carolina Family Business of the Year” for 2013. For more information, visit www.coxwood.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coxwood.”