An idea became a vision; a vision became a mission; and a mission brought Operation Beachhead to life.
This life continues to grow through the support of people who wish to show their appreciation and thanks to our veterans.

Operation Beachhead

An idea became a vision; a vision became a mission;
and a mission brought Operation Beachhead to life.

Operation Beachhead Board Members

 

Michael Ricci ~ Founder, President, and Participant

Upon Graduating from St. Peters College in Jersey City NJ,  Michael was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He was to train in California for six months before going to Vietnam.  After being there for 1 week of training the TET Offensive of 1968 broke out and Michael was immediately deployed to Vietnam.  Lt. Michael Ricci led an infantry platoon in country until he was severely wounded in May of 1968.


Suffering permanent injuries to both his legs would eventually lead him into the world of adaptive sports. Michael discovered the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic which is held in Colorado every year. He quickly learned how to ski adaptively. It was there that the vision for an All Season adaptive sports clinic was born. The knowledge he gained from participating and volunteering with other disabled vets and civilians enabled him to bring to fruition Operation Beachhead in 2011. Having participated in athletics as a young man, he learned quickly about the healing powers, mentally and physically of physical activities. Michael holds a Master’s degree in counseling and through his own personal experiences has helped many individuals. 


Seven years after Vietnam, Michael was able to rekindle his zest for life. His love of the arts and music enabled him to create two courses of study, Literature and Music and Shakespeare, for which he received numerous awards. A profound disciplined awareness of living every moment in a constant state of thankfulness, awe and wonder is a lifestyle for him. Michael is a true example of the human spirit. You can see it in his infectious smile and his never ending love of life.


Click here to read Michael's story as told by New Jersey's First Lady, Mary Pat Christie at the celebration  naming Michael Ricci as a New Jersey Hero.

George Rague, Vice President & Waterman

George is a lifelong New Jersey resident and surfer, who grew up in Wildwood, NJ. He was introduced to the ocean at the age of 2.

With a background in municipal management, athletic training and coaching, and financial services, he brings his diverse experience to help Operation Beachhead accomplish and exceed their goals.

My involvement with Operation Beachhead is a way to honor my father & uncles who served in WWII and also to honor close friends and cousins who served in Vietnam.  Operation Beachhead gives me the opportunity to say thank you to those service men and women who protect us everyday and let them know that they are appreciated. 

We encourage those who discover who we are and what we do, to join us to add their thanks and appreciation to our American heroes.

Bruce Boyle, Vice President & Waterman

Bruce Boyle has been actively supporting Operation Beachhead as a Waterman volunteer for 3 years.  An avid outdoorsman, Bruce grew up surfing in Sea Girt NJ, and has traveled worldwide in pursuit of waves.  His expertise in the water, combined with his passion to get anyone with a desire out on a surfboard, makes him an invaluable resource, both in and out of the water.  Bruce not only rallies his fellow volunteers, but enthusiastically engages Operation Beachhead’s diverse participants, ensuring their experiences are not simply memorable, but invigorating and uplifting.  Through his actions and attitudes, Bruce has proven to be integral to Operation Beachhead’s expansion, and continues to help the organization achieve new goals.


A devoted husband and father to 4 children, Bruce splits his time between family, work and Operation Beachhead.  He is the sole proprietor of a local business: Shore Painting & Powerwashing, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.  When he’s not working, Bruce may be seen surfing the local beaches year-round, fishing, skiing, and playing with his children.

Rich Smith, Board Member ~ Waterman & Volunteer Coordinator

Lorrie Presby, Board Member ~ Treasurer

Lorrie is a lifelong New Jersey resident. She was introduced to Operation Beachhead through the many events held in both the summer/winter, and immediately knew that she wanted to get involved as a way to honor her father who served in the Navy, and her father-in- law who served in the Army during WWII. 

She is the proud mother of five children. Lorrie's hope is to add value  to Operation Beachhead and help this exceptional organization achieve its  goals.

John Ricci, Board Member

 John Ricci is a dedicated family man, married to his wife Joann for 50 years.  They are lucky to have their three beautiful daughters living close by in Monmouth County with their families.  They have 8 grandchildren.


John has a BS in economics from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. Most of John’s career has been as a “food broker”. The last several years he has served as a consultant to companies doing business with the major Warehouse Food Clubs.


When he is not at one of the many family activities, you will find John front and center, eager to help in any task that an Operation Beachhead event asks of him; from picking up equipment, to setting up and breaking down. His rare dedication and wonderful sense of humor brings extraordinary warmth to Operation Beachhead. During the summer sessions, John and Joann also provide a luncheon for over 50 people every year for one Operation Beachhead summers’ events. 


We are very fortunate to have him as part of the Operation Beachhead family.

Beth Kelley, Board Member ~ Adaptive Surfer

I became involved with Operation Beachhead after reading about the organization in The Coast Star.  Being a full time wheelchair user I wasn't accustomed to having fun "beach days".  I read about the program and contacted founder Michael Ricci who welcomed me to join in the activities.  I had never been in the ocean before and when I met Shayne and the rest of our amazing surf instructors they had me out in the ocean surfing like anyone else!  I was immediately hooked.  I was never much of a water person and I never expected to fall in love with surfing and the ocean. All thanks to Operation Beachhead!

Hap Auch III ~ Board Member

Hap is the founder of Tridents, an organization dedicated to finding every-day heroes, every day.   He is a graduate of Manasquan High School and La Salle University.  Hap completed his 5 jumps at the U.S. Army Airborne School in Ft. Benning, GA and Air Assault School at Ft. Campbell, KY.  He lives in Wall Township with his wife Natalie and their 4 children.  He is active in coaching lacrosse, soccer and hockey, and is naturally proud of his four surfing kids.   Hap is an enterprise software sales executive, representing Microsoft’s solutions throughout the eastern United States.

 

Steven A Stillman ~ Operation Beachhead Waterman

Steve has been a passionate surfer for his entire life, having been one of the youngest members of Kiernan Surfing Assoc. he learned to stand up on rafts, Styrofoam and belly boards. Post (Business College) years lead to corporate transfers but the “surf4ever” spirit, competition & travel continued and probably will forever! Having numerous late uncles as VETS & fueled by his late step father also a VET,  Steve heard the compassionate call to give back and believes in the therapeutic magic of the ocean. 

Now in his 5th year with Operation Beachhead he still feels nothing is as rewarding as the smiles on the faces of all the participants when riding a wave.  Also an avid guitarist,  Steve continues to support the non-profit "Guitars for VETS" organization where he puts “music in the hands of our heroes”. He believes in the therapeutic nature of music as well.  
Steve is a devoted son, brother, and father of a 17-year old son who body boards and with whom Steve skis and snowboards with during the winter.

If there’s a promise of a wave you’ll find Steve along with the other devoted members of the Operation Beachhead water crew chasing down another day in the surf!