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Keeping N.J. residents connected in Sandy aftermath

Withstanding storms and responding to the aftermath is nothing new to Verizon. With operations around the globe, a year doesn't go by that Verizon doesn't respond to a disaster like Sandy. Even so, hurricane Sandy demonstrated just how overwhelming a major storm can be. It will take a long time before communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut fully recover.

Not surprising, however, Sandy also demonstrated the other side of a disaster – first responders, utility workers, relief agencies, elected officials and ordinary citizens all coming together to tackle the huge challenges facing many communities devastated by the storm.

I am proud of the thousands of dedicated men and women who work at my firm, Verizon, who ran to this crisis, not away from it. They were among the first to move into the region's hardest-hit communities working round-the-clock to re-establish critical phone and Internet links for residents, first responders and relief agencies.

Across the Northeast, Verizon has completed 560,000 post-Sandy repairs, replaced more than 6,700 poles and 6,000 cables. That effort was conducted in close cooperation with power companies and local officials who were dealing with problems caused by flooding, downed power lines, trees and other debris.

In addition, Verizon deployed its emergency fleet of vehicles, mobile communications command center, satellite trailers and self-contained emergency inflatable-air shelters to hard-hit areas in places like Long Beach, Queens and Staten Island in New York and Hazlet, Hoboken and Ortley Beach in New Jersey.

As the recovery moved from days into weeks, we saw an outpouring of help that extended from simple acts of kindness by neighbors to the massive coordinated response by private industry, charities and government agencies.

Sandy reminded us at Verizon of our great responsibility to those left most vulnerable by the storm. Our disaster recovery teams and crews from around the country were on the scene until the job was done. Crews continue to support local residents as well as the agencies conducting relief efforts in the area. But despite all of the progress that has been made, we know that for many this will be a long recovery effort.

As we continue to rebuild and help friends, families and neighbors put their lives back together, Sandy has given the public and private sectors the opportunity to work collaboratively to replace lost infrastructure with more durable, modern and easily repairable technology should another fierce storm hit the East Coast. Reliability is in our DNA, so whether we utilize better building supplies or leverage advanced communications networks like fiber or 4G LTE technology, we will build smarter and better than before.

Recovery won't happen overnight. Even though the impact of this storm will be felt for months or even years to come, Verizon, in partnership with government, private industry and other stakeholders, remains focused on getting residents back on their feet with reliable products and services. Our commitment is as strong as ever and you can be sure we are in it for the long haul.

Jim Gerace, New York region president
Verizon Communications Inc.

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