Wilmington considers donating police cars to NJ town devastated by Sandy

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Submitted: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:13am
Updated: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:45pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One town devastated by Hurricane Sandy is in desperate need of police vehicles, and the City of Wilmington may be able to help.

The town of Union Beach in New Jersey is one of many places still hurting after the storm and one Wilmington man is hard pressed to help his hometown with a very specific need.

“It’s hard to even describe,” says Scott VanPelt, who grew up around Union Bean and now lives in Wilmington. “I mean you live there your whole life and you’ve never seen anything as bad as what happened.”

Many of VanPelt’s friends lost everything.

“You know you watch it on TV all the time and you can’t relate to it, but now it’s your home,” he says.

The devastation hit VanPelt hard. He immediately went to work to help his hometown, organizing donations and supplies that he drove up to New Jersey last week. When he got there, VanPelt realized the town’s police department needed something he could not give.

“We lost four cars,” he says. “We have four that are so damaged from the salt water and floods, pushing them to the limit that we don’t know how long they’re going to last. We’re hurting pretty good right now.”

VanPelt contacted Captain Jack Jarvis with the Wilmington Fire Department, who alerted Wilmington City Council about a possible vehicle donation. Council would ultimately need to approve the donation at their next meeting.

“If they can get those cars up there on a donation through the city, I mean that’s just one less headache that they have to worry about in getting back to normal,” VanPelt says.

City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark says he is working on getting this on the agenda for next week’s meeting. Jarvis says he knows of two used police cruisers that the city could potentially donate.


  • Bary Shloyda Keyport NJ says:

    With the ignorance I’ve read in the comments section I really hope Mr VanPelt is home schooling his children down there so they grow up with better values and more compassion for their fellow AMERICANS than the inbred rednecks I’ve seen post on here so far !

  • Guest9743 says:

    Hey, let the “PRIVATE SECTOR” donate police cars to Union Beach!!!

  • Dude1 says:

    They voted Obama in, let him provide them with police cars. I agree, do the Wilmington home town people a favor and go back to your home town.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Don’t they have something called insurance up there?

  • RSimmons says:

    New Jersey gets less back in Federal spending for taxes paid than any other state (61 cents on the Dollar) While folks here in Redneck-a-stan get more than we pay in ($1.08 on the dollar).

    Two crapped out $500 police cars are not going to be missed, besides we are only one cat 3/4 hurricane away from needing their assistance in return.

  • Guest5515 says:

    These comments on here make me embarrassed to say that I live in this town. I just pray that one day we are hit with a mega storm that wipes out most if not all of the infrastructure that we know and brings us to our knees to the point that this city can not operate under normal conditions.
    Yes NC and the coastal counties are far more prepared than our northern states, but if we were left without the critical infrastructure that most of you take for granted on a daily basis…….believe me, that your city council would be more than happy to take any donations that other cities and towns were willing to give in order to get this town up and running again.
    When faced with utter devastation, it has nothing to do with tax dollars or what the city did last month,its about helping your neighbor out and helping them get back on their feet, because you never know when mother nature is going to knock you on your ass and you will need the same hand.
    Wake up people and stop being so freaking ignorant.
    Help thy neighbor.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I feel sorry for the people up there. I really do. But, it is not the government’s job to rebuild their lives. Wilmington cannot afford to be fixing other peoples’ towns. They have a heavy enough burden and cannot even fix what’s broken at home.

  • I'm afraid to use my real name says:

    Wow, I’m so sad to read all of the comments attacking Mr Van Pelt and the city of Wilmington. Don’t you all realize that Union Beach was blown off the map and many of it’s residents lost EVERYTHING! Picture yourself … you leave for work in the morning and when you come home your house is gone, your belongings, your pets, your cars … gone. Have a little heart, a little compassion. And for the one who asked why they didn’t move the police cars that were lost … they did move them … they moved them through the streets as they tried to rescue people from their flooded homes! I pray that Wilmington never suffers a tragedy such as this … hmm, or maybe I don’t.

  • Guest111 says:

    Yep, they have insurance but it’s not like the storm blows over and there’s the insurance guy standing there in the rubble with a check. Things take time and they certainly don’t cover all of your losses.

  • Guest999 says:

    After this show of stupidity and total lack of compassion Scott should go back to Union Beach. Who would want to live amongst the likes of you people? Oh, and I assume you’re born & raised in Wilmington?

  • parrothead says:

    I am getting ready to throw a wrench in all the idiots comments. The idea to help a northern state did not come from a Yankee or Deomcrat!!! The idea came from a Southern Reublican!! Why, you ask? BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!! My friend told me what it was like as he was delivering goods that had been donated by people in Wilmington who knew it was the right thing to do. I knew what the city did with the cars that are not useful anymore and made some calls to see if there was any way to help my brother and sister civil servants in Union Beach. So all you heartless, ignorant people who have obviously never had tragedy hit your life, shut up and pray this never happens to you. Or pray that people like Scott are around when it does!!!

  • Jennifer Loysen says:

    Scott, thanks for everything you have done. I’m sad by some of the comments you received for your good deed. If only the haters could see the devastation of hurricane sandy I think they would be sorry for thinking & typing these thoughts. One thing I know is that regardless of the comments if this devastation happened in Wilmington, New Jersey would help out and wouldn’t be as cold hearted as some have been on this site. Going through something like this changes you. I am JERSEY STRONG and thankful for everything everyone is doing to help.

  • Mark Farwell says:

    Oh and for all those with big talk hiding behind names like Dude1, be a man or woman and post with your real name cowards.

  • sheryl says:

    Wow I can’t believe how mean some of you Americans are! You should be ashamed!

  • Mark Farwell says:

    This was not the biggest hurricane ever. It was merely a cat 1. It was the combination of events that led to a storm surge above and beyond anything experienced in that area. They didn’t move the cars because something like this has never been experienced or predicted. 13 foot surge plus 12 foot waves!. Get your head of your … and realize that sometimes natural disasters can’t be predicted to the level you are apparently able to predict. I hope you never have to experience what those folks did, but if you do I hope that treat you with as much sympathy. As for insurance, yes those directly on the cost do have flood insurance. However, many of those affecting were not considered in the flood plain and therefor didn’t have it.

    And for all those that posted big talk behind anonymity (Dude1) at least be less of a coward and post with your real name.

  • Nunyabnz says:

    Rock on.
    Snowman is just a toothless redneck. I live in the south and was born in New Jersey. You sir are as ignorant as they come. My family is all but homeless up there and I would give anything to help them.
    You Silly Moonshine drunken Redneck.

  • Guest552 says:

    Actually I do remember many Hurricanes in the 25+ years I have lived here and I thankfully also remember the outpouring of support from complete strangers near and far. It’s a shame we can’t all remember when it’s not ourselves that are the ones in need.

  • Guest Reply says:

    “I pray you never find yourself in total and complete devastation and have to reach out to strangers for random acts of kindness…because karma is a witch.” (Unquote)

    Fact of the matter is Guest552…a lot of people in this area have been in that situation. Do you remember the stretch of hurricanes we had a few short years ago?
    I thought you did.

  • Snowman says:

    I ask only one thing…. Send Scott Van pelt back to yankee land from whence he came… We need our police cars here… Let the unions buy them their cars.

  • Guest2012 says:

    See you in church on Sunday!

  • GuestVader says:

    Police vehicles are public property bought by taxpayers. Who does VanPelt think he is to want to give them away? He needs to pull out his own checkbook.

  • Guest552 says:

    Ignorance must truly be bliss. What does doing a good deed have to do with being from the North or South or the unions? Live in the present much?
    And to further your obvious lack of humanity and knowledge, these are police officers … CIVIL SERVANTS! And the police cars in question are cars that the City of Wilmington is no longer using. So rather than doing an act of kindness for people suffering such loss/devastation caused by Mother Nature, these cars should just sit in the city garage to rust away? I pray you never find yourself in total and complete devastation and have to reach out to strangers for random acts of kindness…because karma is a witch.

  • Patti O'Rourke says:

    Your comment is heartless. I pray you never experience this type of devastation. What goes around comes around. With your type of attitude, I’d hate to be in the same zip code. Karma is one bad mother bleeper n you’d be left to deal with a tragedy with no one to turn to! Rock on Scott van Pelt n ignore the ignorant!!

  • jj says:

    If there are extra cars they need to be sold and the money used for the budget.

  • Scott Vanpelt jr says:

    Yo stop saying stuff about my dad, what if your friends and family were up there?. Respect him for what he’s doing,don’t see you doing it!

  • Guest111 says:

    Wow! Finally we read about something the city of Wilmington is trying to do that is good, honest and very commendable. I, for one, would be proud to see council approve this.

  • tlwenzel says:

    My family is from Union Beach. . . I hope Wilmington can help them out. Thank you to Scott VanPelt for what you have done.

  • GuestXbhdhf says:

    I’m all for this too, but what does ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt have to do with it?

  • Carol Kramer says:

    Can someone please report on Wilmington’s total debt and its debt service before we start giving stuff away? I know where Union Beach is…they didn’t have the sense to move moveable objects (police cars) out of harms way? Wilmington just wasted $291,000 on baseball (actually on NOTHING), now this? Do we park our police cars on North Topsail beach when the biggest hurricane ever is heading right for us? Do we?

  • Guesttenheimer says:

    And YOURS is one of them! Whattya wanna do, make them sick?

  • Robert Green says:

    In addition to donating the vehicles , let’s offer up our liberal mayor and council member.Given their business acumen , they could get this community back on their feet quickly.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    throwing in the Pro Ballpark supporters? Maybe they can sucker the Jerseyites to fund it or find some way to tap FEEMA dollars for construction.

  • Guest444 says:

    It does sound nice, in theory, to donate to an agency in need. However, public policy laws prohibit this kind of transaction. Wilmington taxpayers paid for those cars. Therefore, the value of those vehicles, needs to stay in Wilmington.

    There are many charitable organizations to help those in need in a disaster. That includes people making donations, if they choose. Perhaps, VanPelt could contact local dealerships for donations. That would be legal.

    Just like the $200k, the city spent on the failed baseball stadium, city officials need to stop spending our tax dollars so frivolously! In this case, just follow public policy laws and don’t donate. New Jersey does not serve the citizens of Wilmington.

  • Guest2525 says:

    I agree with you in regard to the money wasted on the baseball stadium and public policy laws, but it stops there. I don’t see how you could consider a charitable act to be frivolous, whether it’s within our city, state or another state. There is absolutely nothing frivolous about legitimate charitable contributions no matter the dollar value, agency, location, etc.

    And you are partially correct, New Jersey police officers don’t directly serve the citizens of Wilmington, but they are public civil servants that took an oath. And I am sure that no matter where in this country they are, whether it is their home town or a place they are visiting, if they see someone in need of assistance they step up…just as firemen and EMTs do. Too bad we all can’t take our own kind of oath to so the same for our fellow man. Just a thought.

  • Guest753 says:

    Politics … wow, so now what Mr Van Pelt is doing is illegal? Boy, what started out as a nice story about a guy trying to help his hometown after a disaster has really turned into a bunch of crap! Don’t give up Scott!!!

  • John says:

    Being from Union Beach myself I want to thank Scott for all he’s done and thank Wilmington in advance!

  • Chris says:

    thank you for sharing this link scott – you’re doing an amazing job helping our little hometown – and thank you to wilmington for considering this generous donation

  • AS says:

    FYI…when we experienced devastating storms in the 90’s, there were municipalities from all over the country that extended a helping hand to us. Hurricane Sandy could have easily come ashore here.

  • Scott Vanpelt JR. says:

    I think what my dad is doing is great, for all you haters commenting, do we see y’all’s lazy selfs doing something about it,no, so shut your damn mouths, if you had family and friends up there I’m sure you would do the same. And yes I’m talking to you,SNOWMAN and GUEST VADER!

  • His Hometown says:

    He Immediatly went to work to help His,His

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