BELMAR, N.J — On the last unofficial day of summer, Belmar's mayor opened the beach and municipal parking to the public for free. In exchange, patrons were asked to make a donation to help Rockport, Texas.
"They're a similar town to us, about 10,000 people," said Mayor Matt Doherty. "I was able to get in touch with their Mayor over the weekend."
Rockport is a coastal community that saw a catastrophic impact from the storm, including 1 reported death. This level of devastation is not hard for the mayor or Belmar residents to imagine. They lived through it after Sandy, just five years ago.
Mayor Doherty will fly to Texas this week to hand-deliver the donations.
"We were impressed when we heard about it, so we decided to donate," said Phillip McRae. He and his wife visited Belmar this Labor Day. He used to live in Texas and still has friends there.
"So we felt we needed to do what we could to support people from Texas," he said.
The mayor also called on local businesses to donate proceeds they earned this Labor Day. Among those participating was D'Jais in Belmar. The city council is expected to officially adopt Rockport as a sister city during tomorrow night's meeting.