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New Jersey Natural Gas


06/18/2013 - For Immediate Release

Wall, NJ – Everyday heroes quietly achieve great things in the face of diversity, making a difference in the lives of many. At New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) there are eleven such individuals whose extraordinary service was recently recognized by the Society of Gas Operators (SOGO).

NJNG field personnel Roland DeMartino, supervisor of construction and renewal; distribution crew leaders Tom Curtis, Ed Davis, Scott Jelliff and Rich Jones along with gas mechanics Mike Marzulli, Mike McMahon, Joe Nagy, Jac Pierre, Mike Todd and Jim Trevean were presented with the Dick Morgan Heroism Award at a ceremony at the Yale Club in New York City. This award honors employees of SOGO member companies “who have performed heroic acts over and above the norm.” Their story is extraordinary.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey’s vulnerable barrier island communities took the brunt of the storm. On the morning of October 31, these 11 NJNG field personnel set out to assess the damage and take steps to secure NJNG’s distribution system in the Mantoloking area as well as ensure the community’s safety. When they reached the top of the Mantoloking Bridge, the entrance to the barrier island, a new inlet of rushing water, strewn with homes, created by the storm prevented them from reaching the island. “DeMartino commandeered a boat and members of his team grabbed whatever equipment could fit on the boat, leaving trucks – their lifelines – behind,” Craig Lynch, vice president of energy delivery at NJNG, pointed out. They traveled across the bay, an obstacle course of debris. When they finally landed, the sheer magnitude of the job ahead of them set in.

Each - carrying up to 100 pounds of equipment - made the difficult trek up what was once Route 35, trudging over four-plus feet of wet sand and debris for blocks upon blocks. Navigating was nearly impossible with road signs and familiar landmarks buried or destroyed.

As the field personnel continued, they came upon an exposed two-inch natural gas main ripped out of the sand. Faced with a series of dangerous obstacles, and without the tools of their trade, they accessed the main -- improvising and using unconventional methods. Lynch stressed “it was a dangerous situation and they relied on their training and each other, working toward a single-minded goal of making the area safe and, in so doing, putting aside their safety.” They methodically capped natural gas service lines that snapped when houses ripped from their foundations, dug through foot after foot of sand to locate and turn off natural gas valves – isolating and eliminating natural gas leaks caused when the violent rush of debris-filled floodwaters exposed and damaged the infrastructure. After eight grueling hours, the decision was made to cut service to the two-inch steel main.

Rich Jones and Jac Pierre took a precarious land route through Seaside. They followed behind Department of Transportation front-end loaders that literally pushed sand and debris into 10-foot piles on either side of the road, providing just enough space for their trucks to drive through. “Despite these heroic efforts, the crews realized that due to the unprecedented conditions caused by the storm it was not possible to get to all of the natural gas leaks,” Lynch notes. The decision was made to cut the six-inch main.

When asked what got them through the ordeal, the crew responded “each other.” 

“These 11 men responded to an extraordinary situation without any hesitation to their well-being. Their heroic acts will be ingrained in the history of NJNG. This great honor bestowed to them is representative of the more than 900 men and women at NJNG, along with mutual aid volunteers, who went beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of our customers in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. We are grateful for their commitment and dedication and they are all well deserving of this award,” Lynch said. 
About New Jersey Resources
New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) is a Fortune 1000 company that provides safe and reliable natural gas and renewable energy services, including transportation, distribution and asset management. With annual revenues in excess of $2 billion, NJR is comprised of five key businesses: 

  • New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR’s principal subsidiary, operates and maintains 7,000 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve approximately half a million customers in New Jersey’s Monmouth, Ocean and parts of Morris and Middlesex counties. 
  • NJR Clean Energy Ventures is a clean energy company that invests in, owns and operates solar and onshore wind projects with a total capacity in excess of 47 megawatts, providing residential and commercial customers with low carbon solutions. 
  • NJR Energy Services manages a diversified portfolio of natural gas transportation and storage assets and provides customized energy solutions to its customers across North America. 
  • NJR Home Services is a provider of heating, central air conditioning, standby generators, solar and other indoor and outdoor comfort products to nearly 130,000 residential homes and businesses throughout New Jersey.
  • NJR Energy Holdings invests and maintains equity ownership in natural gas storage and transportation pipelines and serves companies from local distributors and producers to electric generators and wholesale marketers.

NJR and its more than 900 employees are committed to helping customers save energy and money by promoting conservation and encouraging efficiency through Conserve to Preserve® and initiatives such as The SAVEGREEN Project® and The Sunlight Advantage®.

For more information about NJR:
Follow us on Twitter @NJNaturalGas.
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RenĂ©e  Amellio, Media

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