As I woke up on Mother’s Day in May 2013 little did I know I was about to get a gift that was transformational to myself and my New Jersey communities.

One year later on this Mother’s Day I also received an amazing gift.  I called Kathleen Koch and she informed me that she will be part of an amazing event that will help what I call “Sandy Caretakers” those that helps others recover after Sandy.  This event is an amazing gift to all those that have worked tirelessly to help our community recover so please invite anyone you know.

THE JOURNEY TO RECOVERY: Healing Ourselves While Healing Others
Monmouth University
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014  Click here for all the details

Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote May 2013:
I woke up before the boys did I watched the sunrise and decided to create a post on Facebook. As I was looking through the news-feed I came across a post about a Mayors conference link to a blog post on More Monmouth Musing. As I read the blog post my heart was singing and my eyes were filling up with tears of joy. It had been on my mind and heart to reach out to Mississippi and see who I could speak to who understood what we were going through and what we could learn from them to rebuild and restore. I always say surround yourself with experts those that have done something already, learn the easy way instead of the hard way. I was planning to host the Sandy Summit in June and interview our mayors and organizations as well as experts in their field of recovery from a natural disaster and here this very group was coming here the following week.

Kathleen Koch  and  her knowledge was a Mother’s Day gift to myself and our community.  Meeting her and the Mississippi delegation, comprised of former Congressman Gene Taylor and former mayors Brent Warr, and Eddie Farve and  learning from their  experience through natural disasters has been such a wonderful transformational tool in my life and also in the life and businesses of my NJ communities.

Kathleen Koch, author and former CNN correspondent is the founder of a project linking mayors after disaster to share lessons learned and speed recovery. A Bay St’ Louis, MS native, Koch has dedicated herself to supporting survivors of natural disasters since Katrina.  She is the author of “Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered” .  She was sent to Japan by the U.S. State Department in March of this year to deliver her message of Resiliency and Words of Hope to the survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of the second anniversary of that catastrophic event.

Here is the “Live with Laura” interview I did with Kathleen.

The other person I meet during this event leading up to the Mayors conference was Michelle Beauregard.
When I meet her over the bridge in Seaside Heights, I found out she was here helping my own local New Jersey communities.  So needless to say meeting her was transformational as well because she had the most amazing insight and resources to help our community with funding and helped our mayors deal with paperwork, systems, process that they had never faced in their mayors careers.

These folks I mention here are now family to me and I am extremely thankful for them.
Thank you for changing the world and making a BIG difference in the lives of others.  A special thank you for helping my community and state in recovery.

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It is my WISH  and actual DREAM that someone wakes up today on Mother’s Day that needs to connect with those that have been through a natural disaster, or an ‘extreme challenges’ and reach out to get help.  Having a support system of people that have been through ‘extreme challenges’ and have the tools and resources that you need makes a world of a difference in the recovery process.

My message to everyone today is Don’t give up.  You maybe going through an “extreme challenge’ right now and not understand how got get through it.  You will get through it.   You will be forever changed because of it.  “Challenges bring change” and it is my prayer for you that it will be transformational.

Here is a tool to help  your BREATHE.