Paying It Forward Relief Held a welcome home ceremony on Wednesday, July 24 at 2:30 PM for Michael and Audrey Gavala of Ortley Beach, NJ. The event, which was held at the Gavala home on Third Avenue in Ortley Beach, NJ, will honor the dozens of volunteers who assisted in rebuilding the Gavala home, flooded by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
The highlight of the event was a flag-raising ceremony conducted by a color guard from the Marine Corps League Reynolds Detachment 203 (Freehold, NJ) on a newly installed flagpole to replace one destroyed by Sandy. Mr. Gavala served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956-1959.
Michael and Audrey Gavala have owned a home in Ortley Beach for 52 years. Over the past six months, Paying It Forward Relief has coordinated the complete rebuild of the Gavala residence. An army of volunteers cleaned, gutted, provided mold remediation, rebuilt the interior, and rehabilitated the property, including reconstruction of a wheelchair ramp to allow Mr. Gavala, who is severely disabled, to return home. Some of the many volunteer groups involved in the effort included Bona Responds, Calvary Chapel Relief, Calvary Chapel Teens, Habitat for Humanity, Portlight Strategies, Sandy Weekend Warriors, and Seton Hall Prep.
“My parents are grateful to Paying It Forward and the more than one hundred volunteers that helped rebuild their home and clean up after the storm,” said Denise Gavala, the couple’s daughter. “These volunteers gave of themselves to give back to my parents a home that they loved and thought they would never see again.”
Since Superstorm Sandy, Paying It Forward has assisted hundreds of homeowners on the upper barrier island in rehabilitating their homes, including several complete rebuilds in Lavallette and Ortley Beach, NJ.
“Paying It Forward has been part of the recovery since the floodwaters receded,” said Gina Cavallo of Paying It Forward Relief. “This is an important moment for this family who now returns to their home, but also to their many neighbors who are still displaced. Together, we can help get residents back into their homes.”