Hollie Dickson’s Spring Break kicked off Monday on the beach, but it’s not a typical vacation.
Dickson, a student at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, spent the frigid day in Union Beach, walking the sand along the Raritan Bay, chatting with friends — and cleaning up the carnage that still remains more than four months after Hurricane Sandy.
The 19-year-old psychology major, her five schoolmates and three La Roche employees sifted through the sand on the shore alongside Brook Avenue, uncovering a cache of destroyed possessions: stuffed toys, DVDs, faded photos and even a rubber ducky.
Dickson, who grew up in Jeannette, Pa., about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, paid no attention to the wide-open view of the water. Her thoughts were focused on a snapshot she found in the sand of a young boy sliding down an inflatable playset.
"Seeing the face of the little boy puts it all into perspective," she said. "It’s so sad seeing these pictures, but it gives me motivation."