Deans Pond resident David Ciccone was one of the lucky South Brunswick residents.
After the destructive Superstorm Sandy left the entire township without power for weeks, Ciccone was fortunate to have his section of town regain power within a day of the storm. However, once his family regained power, Ciccone realized the full scope of the damage not only in South Brunswick, but throughout the state.
"I couldn't get anywhere and I couldn't leave because Route 130 was blocked. I felt helpless and wanted to help," Ciccone said. "So I sat with my family and we tried to figure out ways we could try to help people hit by the storm."
While researching the affect of the storm on the area, Ciccone discovered a Facebook post from Jenkinson's Aquarium in Point Pleasant about an urgent need for batteries. Without power, the aquarium was running on generators and batteries to keep its animals alive.
"For my three kids, it was a scary night with the winds so bad, but when we got power back and they saw the devastation on TV, it hit them pretty good about how bad this storm was," Ciccone said. "They know Jenkinson's, it's a place they've been. So when they saw how bad it was there, that's when it really hit home for them."
Ciccone did some research, which led him to reach out to Procter & Gamble, who owns Duracell. Ciccone spoke with a public relations representative and informed them about the situation at the Jersey Shore.
"I told them about the situation I read on Jenkinson's Facebook page, that they had an urgent need for batteries and no one can get them," he said.
Ciccone then reached out to the Asbury Park Press for contact information for a Jenkinson's representative, who he soon connected with Proctor & Gamble. But the company didn't stop there, as they formed the Duracell Rapid Response team and Mobile Relief Centers. The initiatives provided Sandy victims with showers, personal care kits, household products and baby products all for free. The Duracell teams also provided charging stations for mobile phones and electronic devices, along with Internet access so people could use their email and social media accounts.
Jenkinson's sent Ciccone a message thanking him for the outpouring of support for the aquarium after the building received a truck generator.
"Proctor & Gamble said your one request helped spike this whole idea off," Ciccone said.
Beyond teaching his three young children about helping others in need, Ciccone said the experience helped show the impact they can have with a few small good deeds.
"I felt guilty that I had power back so quickly when I saw my friends and family without it," he said. "I thought I might be able to do something using my previous skills working with computers and writing articles for technical magazines to help someone. I work in sales and I used some of those skills for something that really impacted people, which is very rewarding. I wanted to share this story because God forbid we're in another situation like this and it's my family in need, if someone does something like this behind the scenes, then that's a great thing. As a community we can do a lot more than we realize at the time."
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