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Wilmington considers donating police cars to NJ town devastated by Sandy


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.

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