3-year-old Sandy victim Nicole Mariano asks Gov. Christie for help to rebuild her home at town hall
MIDDLETOWN - Thursday's town hall in Middletown was the 110th for Gov. Chris Christie, the first of his second term, and one he won't likely forget.
Residents from the Port Monmouth section, many of whom are still out of their homes, came out to express their concerns to the governor about lagging Sandy recovery at the meeting.
A young voice spoke up at the meeting. Nicole Mariano, 3, had a special request for Christie regarding her Leonardo home. "Will you fix my house? My house is broken," she said.
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Nicole's family has lived in a trailer for more than half of her short life, while they wait for their home to be rebuilt.
Brier says Nicole would ask her about the governor when she saw him on TV. "And so I said that's the man who's going to fix our house," Brier says. "She thinks rocks will help rebuild houses, so she said when we go to another meeting I want to give him a rock because he's going to fix our house."
But instead of giving Christie a rock, she gave the governor a piece of her mind.
Christie assured Nicole he would try to get her home fixed. Her mother, Kelly Brier, was shocked at her daughter's plea. "I lost it because how does a little girl say that? She's 3. She shouldn't know everything is gone," Brier says.
Debbie Fortier is also still waiting for aid to rebuild her Brick home. She is renting a house across the street. "It's just a constant reminder every time I walk out the door of the life I had, home I had and what we've lost," she says.
The mother of two spoke her mind at the town hall. She was visibly emotional and held back tears as she talked to the governor about a program that helps nonstorm victims buy homes in her community. She calls it insulting. "If you gave me that $50,000 I could go home," she says.
"I think I've been patient and I'm angry, frustrated, depressed," Fortier says. "I just want to take my family and rebuild my life and home."
Like many families, Nicole's parents have been approved for funds but they have not been disbursed.
Most families at the meeting told News 12 New Jersey they don't blame Christie for the slow recovery process, and hope he can help speed it up.