National News

Oct 29, 2013 5:21 PM by NBC News

Sandy: Still Struggling

(NBC News) A year ago today the East Coast was battling the largest storm to ever build in the Atlantic.

Sandy ripped a cross the shoreline leaving behind around 70-billion dollars in damages.

A year later, piles of rubble and debris stretch for miles along the eastern seaboard.

It's an ugly reminder of the violent storm that millions will never forget.

"It's terrible. It's tragic," said Fairfield, Connecticut homeowner Ian Bass.

Along the shoreline in Union Beach, New Jersey a slab and some pilings are all that's left of Jakeabob's on the Bay.

Determined to fight back, owner Gigi Dorr rented a space and opened a new restaurant a few blocks inland.

It's a place where the message is just as important as the meals.

"This to me represents our town. It represents the hope and spirit of Union Beach," said Dorr.

A resilience framed by doors turned into tables and walls.

"It is a piece of the town, every door here is from a house," Dorr said.

Dozens of homes that are no longer standing are early symbols of hope.

Now, 12 months into the recovery, she worries about what's waiting on the other side of these doors.

"We are not back. We are broken and we need to figure it out. We need help, we need help."

Many complain about red tape slowing federal relief funds; and about extended fights over insurance claims.

And they say volunteers are the only way they've managed to survive.

Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stopped to thank a group who've donated their time and sweat to help rebuild their state.

"We are not whole until everybody is individually whole after this." Christie said.

It's a difficult and painful process for those like New Jersey resident Debbie Fortier.

"I'm not going to give up i just want to go home, there are a lot of us out there that still aren't home," said Fortier.

And getting there for some could take another year, or more.

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