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MANTOLOKING, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy destroyed a home in Ocean County, N.J., but not cherished keepsakes.
As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, Bill Bigelow and his family thought a wedding album, years of photos, and important documents had been lost when Sandy destroyed his uncle’s Mantoloking home and pushed most of its contents into the sand.
“Literally everything from inside the house is there or out in the bay,” Bigelow said.
But the items were not lost. They were in a chest of drawers that literally floated across Barnegat Bay and washed up in Susan Lehnes’ backyard in nearby Brick, N.J.
“Old, old, old pictures — it was breathtaking to find that it wasn’t destroyed,” Lehnes said. “So I, of course, took them aside and peeled them all out.”
Lehnes saw Mantoloking written on some of the items, so she contacted her neighbor, Glenn Gordon, whose mother lives in that community. After a little digging, the pair quickly found out that the items belonged to Bigelow’s uncle, former Mantoloking councilman Elbert “Rusty” Husted.
“In the midst of all of that to come out with this neat kind of a piece of family history is kind of ironic,” Gordon said. “It’s really nice that at least you can find some good in all the garbage and junk that floated up.”
Husted, a 92-year-old widower, was forced to relocate, but his nephew brought him a few of the pictures and said he was happy that things this special were salvaged from his home.
But Bigelow was not surprised by his neighbor’s kindness, and the neighbors said they were happy to help a fellow storm victim especially during the holidays.
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