They rose to answer the call of duty again and again before, during and after Hurricane Sandy ripped through sections of Bayville, South Seaside Park and Pelican island.
They went even though some of their homes were under water. They battled ferocious winds and flood waters to rescue those trapped in their homes. They fought fires.
They are Berkeley's first responders - fire companies, first aid squads, police officers, underwater search and rescue teams. And after Sandy was finally gone, public works employees slogged through 16-hour days to pick up storm debris, furniture and the remnants of people's lives.
Berkeley will say thank you to all of them with a "Football Party" at the Robert J. Everett Community Center at the Berkeley Little League complex from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.
"The last few weeks have been unlike anything our township has faced in the past," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said. "The council and I, as well as our residents, are very appreciative of the hard work all of our employees and volunteers have done. As our recovery efforts continue we would like to give our team and their families a day of rest and relaxation, while enjoying some great football action.""
Berkeley Little League will have multiple HD TVs with all the local game action, ping pong and games for children. A free buffet with food donated from local restaurants, businesses and residents will be served throughout the day by volunteers from Berkeley Little League.
"I was speaking to Mayor Amato after one of the council's storm update meetings and remarked how well, considering the scope of the disaster, our township had responded to this crisis," said League President Bob Everett. "I have heard many incredible stories of folks going above and beyond their call of duty and from grateful residents for the assistance provided."
Everett and Amato came up with the idea for a party together.
"With our leaders swamped with more important issues, I offered to have our league host and coordinate the event, so that they could focus on getting our town back together," Everett said.
Donations of pot luck dishes and supplies will be gladly accepted, but please contact the league first. Monetary donations can be made to Berkeley Little League, P.O. Box 172, Bayville, NJ 08721. Any excess funds will be donated to storm relief. No public funds will be used for the party.