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Weathering the Storm: 10 Things You May Not Know About Manny and Jan

When Manny and Jan came into a New Jersey Red Cross shelter days after Sandy hit, it was their 38th wedding anniversary. They had tried to wait out the storm in a nearby attic, as waves flooded their home in their beloved Seaside Heights, NJ. In the end, the couple needed to seek shelter and food on a day when they should have been celebrating.

Last night, the couple were given a proper, belated anniversary dream date with the help of ABC’s The Bachelorette. Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock and contestant James Case forfeited their dream date for Manny and Jan, after hearing the couple’s tragic story and seeing their gutted home.

During last night’s episode, as Desiree and James enjoyed dinner in “a dive,” Manny and Jan had a private, candlelit dinner in The Foundation Room and danced to a private concert from music artist and Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet Member, Darius Rucker.

Manny and Jan stole viewers’ hearts, and they begged ABC for more on Twitter and Facebook. Romantics want to know how this couple has weathered the storm.

At the Red Cross, it’s hard to resist a plea for hope. So, here are 10 things you may not know about the beloved Manny and Jan:

  1. For much of their life, Seaside Heights had been only a vacation destination for Manny and Jan.
  2. Manny bought Jan a home there as a romantic surprise.
  3. When Manny and Jan came to the NJ shelter, Red Cross volunteers arranged a candlelit dinner to give them hope and normalcy on their anniversary.
  4. One week after the storm, police lifted the curfew and allowed home owners four hours to access their houses to collect some personal belongings. Manny and Jan got their wedding photo album with the time they had.
  5. The volunteer who restored the couple’s damaged wedding photo album is Jane Bowden. She left her home in Florida to volunteer during Sandy on a deployment assignment.
  6. Manny is a huge fan of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, so when he saw Desiree in Seaside Heights it took his breath away.
  7. When this episode was filmed, the couple had moved 4 times to temporary locations during their recovery.
  8. They both describe being married to the other as “easy,” but also acknowledged that “it takes work.”
  9. To keep the dream date a surprise, The Bachelorette made arrangements through the Red Cross and Manny and Jan’s son, Frankie. As the filming approached, Jan started to worry about why her son was receiving so many secret calls from ladies.
  10. Manny and Jan’s story is one of many that red cross volunteers draw on for inspiration and hope when they face the despair in disasters.

I do.

4 Responses to “Weathering the Storm: 10 Things You May Not Know About Manny and Jan”

  1. It’s a touching story about good, decent people and a strong devotion to one another no matter what. The world needs more of that.

  2. Manny and Jan are a delightful couple who went through a nightmare experience with courage, dignity and optimism. They fully realize their story is just one among many thousands, post Super storm Sandy. I was one of the Red Cross Volunteers at the shelter on the night they celebrated their anniversary and I was with them when they returned to their badly damaged home. The amazing thing is we can only offer this kind of vital support during times of disaster, thanks to generosity of donors from all over the country who support the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is the only organization I know which can mobilize thousands of trained volunteers and have them on the ground within hours of a disaster striking. I have met hundreds of awesome people who as Red Cross volunteers give their time and skills to train for the many emergencies that effect our Nation every year. The volunteer’s payment is the satisfaction in knowing that in some small way we may be able to make a difference when people need it most.

  3. That’s really sad and heart touching story about a lovely family. Good bless you Manny and Jan, I wish you live long and happy.

  4. Manny and Jan’s story has touched my heart! I couldn’t stop crying when I saw them on the Bachelorette. I would love to help them in anyway. Can I please have more info on how to go about doing that?

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