Point Beach and Bay Head are just two of the many towns along the Jersey Shore that are sobering reminders of just how much work lies ahead of us in the wake of Sandy, and how important it is for us to stay Jersey strong.

Of course, Bay Head had been closed off and secured by the National Guard for so long. Now that a drive through parts of the town is allowed it gives us a chance to see the monumental damage that the town suffered. Certainly, Bay Head is not the only town in the situation. Far from it. A ride right around the corner through Point Pleasant Beach was saddening as well.

These are just the most recent towns Diane and I toured, and, as with other towns we've seen, and I'm sure many places we will see, the tears come easily and the heart aches. And as I looked around, I realized just how hard it is to calculate how long it will all take, but I know it won't be easy.

I love the optimism that we, as a state, have brought to the recovery, and I know we'll get it done, but we have to remember to pause frequently to remember our devastated neighbors and all that they have gone through and will go through before we can put this storm in the history books.

I will say this...Thank you! Thank you to all the workers and homeowners and neighbors who are working so hard to get the job done. There is no doubt that, despite the damage out there, the progress is amazing, and it's that progress that we're all holding on to. Keep it up New Jersey!

A parking lot in Point Pleasant Beach (Lou Russo, Townsquare Media)