Like so many other residents of the tri-state area, former Drew University men’s lacrosse team captain, PJ Martin C’04, saw some of the devastating effects of Super Storm Sandy first hand and looked to his former team for help.
Martin, a former teacher and coach at the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. located miles from the some hardest impacted areas of the storm, reached out to former Peddie School graduate and current Drew junior, Kyle Mariboe to see if the current team would be interested in helping out.
Head Coach Tom Leanos, who also coached Martin, was approached by Mariboe to see if he can enlist his teammates to join the relief effort. Within days Martin and Mariboe had a small army comprised of 31 Drew men’s lacrosse players and two coaches including Leanos to help with the clean-up.
“This Drew lacrosse program is a family,” explained Leanos. “If one of our family members needs assistance, we’re going to figure out a way we can help out.”
The Ranger contingent helped clean-up, assist in demolition, remove furniture and drywall for about 10 homes in a flood zone located about one block of the Raritan Bay. The team divided into six groups with each group working under the direction of a previously existing group called, Team Pecyna, which stepped up and taken responsibility for civilian relief in Keansburg.
Martin now owns his own lifestyle apparel company called Uncommon Fit based in Hightstown and is spearheading a relief campaign called “We Shore Will“. His apparel company and the campaign have been able to motivate different college age volunteers and young professionals to come down to help in Keansburg and have raised thousands of dollars that are directly benefiting organizations, residents and small business in the Raritan Bay area.The most notable effort in raising funds was at the recent Hope for Highlands concert helping raise an extra $5500 through t-shirt sales by his company.
“This was a life-changing experience for us and hopefully for the people down here as well,” said junior Mark Barus. “I’m grateful we were made aware of this opportunity by PJ and glad we could help out.”
Although each Drew student-athlete was affected by Super Storm Sandy, the relief effort brought heightened awareness to all involved of how dramatic the hardship was for other communities and families in the Garden State. It also brought a true sense of what the Drew Lacrosse family is all about to the current-student athletes and alumnus PJ Martin.
Other individuals or organizations interested in volunteering in Keansburg may do so by emailing Shawn at Keansburgstrong@gmail.com for information. To see how and when other Drew University relief efforts are being made, join the facebook group “Drew Disaster Relief”.
You can also purchase apparel from Uncommon Fit that directly benefitx the Keansburg community by visiting www.uncommonfit.com