Morristown woman wrote the book on tornado relief, literally

The Morristown & Township Library is about the receive a how-to book that its author hopes nobody ever has to read.

Berit Ollestad has compiled a scrapbook of Morristown’s relief effort for Alabama tornado victims.

“I want it to be a permanent record of what we did as a community so, heaven forbid, if we have to do it again, we know we can do it and there’s proof,” Berit said at Tuesday’s council meeting, where she was honored by Mayor Tim Dougherty for her “outstanding and selfless” work organizing the drive.

The mother of two galvanized residents to donate food, bottled water, clothes and household supplies that filled an 18-wheel UPS truck in June. She went to Tuscaloosa to oversee delivery of the items to victims devastated by tornadoes in April.

“It just proves what one person can do if they put their mind to it and organize people to do great work,” said the Mayor, who gave proclamations to Berit and other volunteers who helped her. “There aren’t enough words to say what you’ve accomplished.”

Berit Ollestad listens as Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty reads proclamation extolling Berit's relief efforts for Alabama tornado victims. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Berit Ollestad listens as Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty reads proclamation extolling Berit's relief efforts for Alabama tornado victims. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Council members and spectators rose to applaud Berit, who thanked officials and volunteers by handing out fine chocolates.

Her scrapbook describes how to “organize a grassroots relief effort, from the ground up,” with hundreds of emails and photos from her tour of Tuscaloosa.

She handed that gift to town Administrator Michael Rogers, who serves on the library board, and requested that he donate it to the library.

Where, Berit hopes, nobody ever will need to consult its pages.

READ MORE ABOUT BERIT OLLESTAD

Olivia Kelly Quigly, 10, and Mary Quigley of the Washington School in Chatham, with tornado relief scrapbook compiled by Berit Ollestad. The Quigleys donated bags of food to Berit's relief efforts for Alabama tornado victims. Berit and Mary received commendations from Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Olivia Kelly Quigly, 10, and Mary Quigley of the Washington School in Chatham, with tornado relief scrapbook compiled by Berit Ollestad. The Quigleys donated bags of food to Berit's relief efforts for Alabama tornado victims. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


Another hometown hero was honored at the same council meeting on Tuesday. Nick Vena, shot put king of the Garden State, received a mayoral proclamation retroactively proclaiming “Nick Vena Day” in June.

The scholar-athlete shattered records throughout his Morristown High School career and is bound for the University of Virginia.

“Nick is one of the best athletes the town of Morristown and the state of New Jersey has ever seen,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty, as Nick stood quietly with his parents, Michelle and Vic.

Technically, Nick’s hometown is Whippany. He was allowed to attend Morristown High because his mother teaches in the Morris School District.

Of course, every town in New Jersey will claim Nick as its own if he proceeds to Olympic glory, as his fans anticipate.

Nick looked uncomfortable with all the fuss–the Gentle Giant is a humble guy–and he made no speeches. He likes to let his ball do the talking.

MORE VIDEOS AND STORIES ABOUT NICK VENA

Nick Vena, center, listens to proclamation by Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. Nick is joined by his parents, Michelle and Vic. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Nick Vena, center, listens to proclamation by Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. Nick is joined by his parents, Michelle and Vic. Photo by Kevin Coughlin



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