Dec. 12, 2012—Ted Rainer, member of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) and owner of Ocean Bay Auto Body in Point Pleasant, N.J., was looking to sell off a large diesel generator taking up space in his shop. The equipment never sold, which was fortunate because it ultimately became a line of support for his entire community.
According to AASP/NJ, the power was out in the Point Pleasant, N.J., market for 10 days after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last month. Rainer switched on the generator sitting in the back of his shop, and turned his facility into a hospitality center for victims in the community.
Serving up to 40 community residents simultaneously, Ocean Bay became a place where people could contact families and friends, find food and relax after the catastrophe.
In addition to welcoming people inside his facility, Rainer ran cords out to four different families and powered their homes during the blackout. He also offered use of the shop’s Internet connection to local fire and first aid professionals while cell phone service was down. The Associated Press even used Rainer’s power source to send editorial content from the area globally.
“It was like a dam opened up. People were parked here all through the day and night,” Rainer said. “It didn’t hit me until a week or so later. My wife and I went out to dinner the other day, and people came up to thank us.”
Although Rainer’s goodwill did lead to a significant amount of local recognition, and a few repair jobs, he is humble about the significance of the effort.
“You would open your doors to anybody who would knock on them if they needed help,” Rainer said. “If you see somebody drowning, wouldn’t you get them a stick or throw them a rope?”