Asbury Park LGBT community rallies to help those in need 

Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018
Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018
Two-alarm fire leaves many homeless and takes a man’s life

Asbury Park’s LGBT community has always stepped up for the larger community. The Pulse Nightclub benefit at Paradise Nightclub, years ago, raised tens of thousands for the Orlando, Fla., LGBT community. Since then, in Library Square Park, a permanent memorial for the Pulse nightclub victims has been placed.

Victim of the Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018
James Famularo was a victim of the Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018

The community stepped up again July 10, 2018, on the local level. A two-alarm fire on Park Avenue in Asbury Park killed James Famularo. He was a former member of the Asbury Park Board of Education, former assistant executive director of the Asbury Park Housing Authority, and former assistant city manager. In recent years, he campaigned to have quality of life ordinances placed on the ballot. Famularo was also substitute teacher in the local schools and worked with the Asbury Park Youth Football league.

Local businesses step up to assist the needy

It was reported that at least three dogs were rescued from the row of eight townhomes, and that is when Shanna Haffner and her wife, Dina, from Bond Street Bar stepped up to help.

Fire scene at the Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018
Fire scene at the Asbury Park, NJ fire on July 10, 2018

“The two rallied those standing on the sidelines to bring animal crates to contain the rescued dogs, and could be seen as late as 8:30 pm tending to the animals as the pet owners affected by the blaze made telephone calls, assessed damages, and ran errands, like buying dog food,” said a report in the Asbury Park Sun.

Other folks in the local LGBT community stepped in to help those that were directly affected by the fire. Paradise manager Jojo Crisci and Hotel Tides manager Ryan Jimenez coordinated with Haffner and a small team to secure temporary residence for those left homeless. Haffner said the only two hotels that offered free solace to the five displaced families were the Empress and Hotel Tides. Cricsi said, “Paradise, The Tides, and the entire community try to always help the community when they are in need; this time is no exception.”

The LGBT community is at their best when they are fighting for what is right and just. Pride month may have just ended, but the LGBT community of Asbury Park remains a community truly something to be proud of.