Special bond remembered one year after Hurricane Sandy

HOUSTON - One year ago today, the East Coast was battling the largest storm to ever build in the Atlantic Ocean.  Hurricane Sandy ripped across the shoreline, leaving behind damage and devastation.

After Sandy, crews from CenterPoint Energy in Houston were called on to help. But something else also happened after the storm -- friendship.

With the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, many of the CenterPoint linemen remember what it was like helping with the recovering in New Jersey and one lineman says because of the storm, he made a new friend.

When Sandy devastated much of the northeastern seaboard, crews from CenterPoint in Houston were called to help restore power. Dozens of men loaded up in bucket trucks and hit the road. Jason Beard was one of them.

"I would go back. A lineman gets a feeling from something like that, I would absolutely go back," Beard said.

Once the linemen arrived in New Jersey, emergency crews dispatched the workers. Beard and his crew were sent to North Caldwell, a small town just west of Newark. The area had no power at all.

The mayor of the town was so thankful for the relief and told me on the phone how Beard offered to send him a Texas flag after he got back home.

"He said, 'Mayor, I'm going to send you that flag,' so I said that was a nice thought at the moment but didn't think it actually would happen," Mayor Joseph Alessi said.

But it did happen.

"I said, 'Heck ya, I'll send you one.' I don't think he expected I would send him one, but I did and he was very surprised by that," said Beard.

And in return, Beard also got a flag from the mayor -- a New Jersey state flag; just a token to say thanks for what Beard and his Houston co-workers did for one small town hit hard by Sandy.

"This is really a friendship that was born through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; it's something that I never expected," Beard said.

All the men we spoke with say even though it's tiring and the process is a long one, they would all volunteer to go again to help after a storm.

The mayor says he also sent Beard a few other items in the care package including salt water taffy.

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