LITTLE FERRY, N.J. -- An Indiana man who drove 862 miles to Little Ferry after feeling called to service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy returns the night before Halloween to revisit the friends he made and discuss a book he wrote about the experience.
Stan Gregory cooked while doling out constant hugs and smiles during his visit to Little Ferry and Moonachie.
"Over the last three years he has become a friend to many of us through visits, Facebook and phone calls," Little Ferry resident Frank J. Fuchs said. "Stan has written a book that includes many of the stories and photos from his adventure here."
Gregory will renew acquaintances and discussion the book "Vortex of the Holy Spirit" from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Methodist Church in Tenafly.
Tickets are $25 (with sandwich dinner and book) and $15 ( for sandwich dinner only).
Gregory -- who used his middle name, Dave, for the book -- is part of Vortex Ministries, an Evansville, Ind., grassroots organization that rushes to help victims of natural disasters nationwide.
In 2005, he drove 10 hours to Gulfport, Miss. to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Barely two days after deciding he needed to do something in the wake of Sandy, Gregory reached Little Ferry after brief stops at the Jersey Shore and in Brooklyn -- where the needs weren't as critical.
Behind the wheel of a pickup truck filled with food, he asked Little Ferry police where he could find the hardest-hit spot in town. They pointed him to Mehrhof Road.
There, Gregory met Roy and Charlotte Eilertsen, who let him set up a coal-burning grill in their driveway.
With stores closed, no gas and flooded streets, residents couldn't get out of town to get food. So Gregory cooked donated meat for neighbors and emergency responders.
With all of the area hotels and motels booked, the Eilertsen's let Gregory stay at their home.
Gregory then gave Roy Eilertsen the keys to the pickup to collect a bedfull of donated water, chips, hot dogs and buns from the Hackensack Costco.
Pat Penish, a Boys' Club volunteer who lives in the neighborhood, called Gregory's goodwill journey "a Godsend."
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