Sandy victim breaks into home, leaves farewell note
Diann Hodges

story b

A Toms River, N.J., man who didn't think he would survive Sandy's storm surge, broke into a stranger's house and left a farewell note asking her to "tell my Dad I love him."


Thankfully the letter writer, identified only as Mike, was reunited with his father, Tony. And both will have a lifetime to retell his tale of survival.

So will Christine Treglia, who found this unsettling note when she returned home, which she had evacuated before the storm:

Who ever reads this I'm DIEING — I'm 28 yrs old my name is Mike. I had to break in to your house. I took blankets off the couch. I have hypothermia. I didn't take any thing. A wave thru me out of my house down the block. I don't think I'm going to make it. The water outside is 10ft deep at least. There's no res[c]ue.

Tell my dad I love him and I tryed get[t]ing out. His number is ###-###-#### his name is Tony. I hope u can read this I'm in the dark. I took a black jacket too. Goodbye. God all mighty help me.

Treglia posted this response on Facebook along with a link to the story about the note:

"This was my house that Mike found refuge in. We found this letter and 2 others in our home along with "help me" signs posted to our windows. We called immediately and were so relieved that Mike was safe and made his way home."

In an interview with Justin Louis of WOBM radio, Mike, who still seemed amazed by his ordeal, shared the story behind his frantic note.

He said he was at his home in the Green Island community of Toms River when his kitchen was swept away, so he walked out of his house and was swept up in the current. He said he was pulled a half-mile into the bay and then spent about four hours trying to swim back home.

"Well, the current took me to somewhere, which I didn't even know where I was, and it threw me back into the bay. And I tried to swim back to my house for some reason," Mike said. "You know, sometimes you don't think."

He said he ended up across the bay at "some lady's house."

"She had towels on the couch. I just wrapped my body with the towels. ... I was so thirsty because I drank so much salt water. I didn't think I was gonna make it."

He penned the note in the dark.

"I just wanted to have that note to tell my father I tried. You know, I wasn't a baby about it. I tried, I did my thing." Mike told WOBM.

"I was swimming for so long. ... I was so cold, I thought I was just going to freeze right there," he said, "But that lady, I felt like for some reason, she knew someone was going to be in that house. She had these wool blankets all over the place. And I just wrapped myself in them."

After a few hours inside in the dark, Mike ventured back out into the waters.

"In the street there was about eight feet of water, and I'm like, I ain't dying like this, after all this, I ain't dying like this."

He said he was picked up by someone named Frank on a personal watercraft. Frank took in Mike and warmed him by a gas stove and gave him hot chocolate.

On Facebook, "Frank" Vicendese of Green Island writes of Mike, "He was very thankful to be alive and warm, also very emotional after warming up by my stove after it started to sink in what happened."

Mike's journey took him to a friend's house in Kettle Creek, and then his dad came and picked him up. "I told my dad when I got home, you follow me" wherever I go, he said.

Mike says in his conversation with Treglia he apologized for entering her home and said, "There was money on the table, I didn't take nothing. I just took something that would keep me warm."

Treglia did not respond to a request for an interview.

Louis of WOBM told Yahoo News he wanted to initially ensure the incident was a not a hoax so he called the number on the note.

"At first it went straight to voice mail," Louis said. "But I had this feeling I should give it one more shot."

When Louis called Tony's number, the happy father said, "That's my son Mike!"

"He seems like a typical down-to-earth, mid-20s guy who is still pretty shaken up," Louis said of Mike after their interview.

Some people on social media have called Mike's survival a miracle.

He may not believe he stole anything during his ordeal. But certainly he was given a most valuable gifthis life.

To be honest with you, I'm afraid of the dark now. I was in the dark for so long with at least 15 to 20 foot waves that with the bay crashing over me. I couldn't even breathe.

I told my dad when I got home, you follow me everywhere you go.




  • eng e  •  3 hrs ago
    "He said he was picked up by someone named Frank on a personal watercraft. Frank took in Mike and warmed him by a gas stove and gave him hot chocolate."

    Now, THAT'S a good neighbor.
    • JL 4 mins 59 secs ago
      Discount double check baby!
  • Raised Right  •  4 hrs ago
    Thank God for all the 'Franks' in the world.
    • JL 4 mins 21 secs ago
      Pretty nice of Christine to leave all those blankets lying around too.
  • Mrs. Y  •  4 hrs ago
    What a heartwarming story! What a happy ending to such harrowing ordeal!
    • The Gaddys 7 mins ago
      To Gandorf: This ain't the time or the place for that negativity. Keep it to yourself.
  • CN  •  2 hrs 46 mins ago
    Mike "stole" everyone's heart with his story. Good to hear he made it! 2 Thumbs up!
    • TaterNuttz 5 mins ago
      I've seen towels the size of blankets, and I've seen blankets the size of towels. Who knows, maybe there were both in the house. Mike DID specifically say "wool blankets" in the interview.
  • Scranton,PA  •  2 hrs 50 mins ago
    Wow. Just a blanket. That's all he wanted. What a nice story.
    • Jon 31 mins ago
      Glad to see yet another Graduate of Madame Cleos School of mind reading and Precognition, Thanks
  • Dreamtime  •  1 hr 43 mins ago
    A good story for once, printed by the media. Nice.
    • John 1 min 14 secs ago
      For ONCE? There are wonderful stories like this in the news every day. Seriously. We just overlook them most of the time. Anyway, this is heartening to read. Thanks to the good neighbors who took care of Mike.
  • Douglas  •  1 hr 35 mins ago
    What a story. Mike was obviously brought up by a loving dad and, being a father myself, I'm happy that he survived and that his dad didn't lose a son that day.
    • Amber 7 mins ago
      Look somebody was saved during the storm ok? Be grateful about it and shut the hell up gosh! I'm pretty sure if it was you in that situation you'll want somebody to show you the same support! Anyways I'm glad that your ok Mike God bless you!
  • TVMan  •  1 hr 32 mins ago
    I imagine there's a lot of similar stories of fear regarding Sandy. Christine Treglia, Frank Vicendese, and Mike are all good people watching out for each other like that. I'm glad everything turned out all right.
  • country girl  •  2 hrs 50 mins ago
    its amazing he lived thru all that, must be a great swimmer, or someone was watching out for him-
    • Paul 5 mins ago
      Spiderman will save us!! Just as likely.
  • alices  •  4 hrs ago
    I don't believe this story was embellished. I am from NJ and you cannot believe how the storm impacted the entire state, There are still people homeless, billions of dollars in damages and without power, It is surprising you have not seen the devastation on the local media. You cant imagine how it feels to not have warmth or electricity in your homes. All the area stores are closed and highways are closed with a threat of arrest if you dare to use them. The toppled trees on telephone pole wires, that they can not be access until relief comes for volunteers as far as Canada, Mexico, Iowa, etc, The power companies they cannot do anything but wait for the volunteers to travel in caravans across the country, To see homes reduced to toothpicks, and knowing many may never be able to ever return to their homes due to great financial loss. Count your blessing. Being forced out of your homes and worrying about looting, shocked to hear about the lives of friends taken away by the storm, There is no embellishment. If you find time volunteer to help your neighbor in need or donate.
    • Matthew 4 mins 4 secs ago
      Judy-don't be mean to anyone who have suffered losing their house. I live in Massachusetts and never thought a tornado could destroy my house like it did last year. Just be nice...please?
  • BarryS  •  2 hrs 17 mins ago
    nice to hear good news
  • Very concerned citizen  •  4 hrs ago
    Thank God so many were able to get to a safer place.
    • Jim P. 19 mins ago
      People who thank God after so many people bust their butts annoy me. How about thanking the people who forecast the storm, broadcast the warnings, ordered the evacuations, and then came to help or donated to those in need? If I risked life and limb like trying to save these people and they said "thank God" when I showed up, I'd say "sorry, I'm not God, but I'll be glad to help". (Either that, or leave them for God to save).
  • Joe  •  2 hrs 6 mins ago
    Great story! Glad it worked out for him in the end.
  • Eat Me  •  4 hrs ago
    If you are taking blankets, water, food, and other things to help you survive then it is okay. If you are taking plasma TVs and Nikes (as in Katrina) you should be shot on sight for looting.
  • Wunhung  •  3 hrs ago
    you people making snide comments make me sick please just shut up
  • Joy  •  1 hr 11 mins ago
    His life was in danger but still thinking about telling his dad how much he loves him. What a loving son. Best wishes to Mike and his father Tony and the two good samaritan who helped Mike to get through this.
  • Elizabeth  •  1 hr 14 mins ago
    This is the way people are supposed to help each other. It should not be a surprise or a shock to anyone - it should be expected and appreciated.
  • Primate  •  1 hr 24 mins ago
    Wow. He thought he was at Death's door, and it turned out to be an Angel's.
  • robert h  •  1 hr 34 mins ago
    Evacuate? To where? Sandy was so huge Where would you go? Honestly, there are people who haven't the means to go far. It's easy to criticize when you aren't living it or are perfect like some of these folks here.
  • R.  •  2 hrs 26 mins ago
    Way too miraculous to be a hoax !!! Lucky young man , dad , kudos to the good deed done !!!
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