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.

Oscar Mike Weekend

Team Oscar Mike landed at Newark Liberty Airport and started the beginning of a great weekend.  The team was treated to a donation by Mobility Works. They were given the use of a van for the entire weekend of their stay in New Jersey. The Jersey Shore would be their home for the weekend. Just as in the past four years, residents, Missy Rell and Catherine Lyons, from the Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake NJ donated their residences for the weekend to house some members of the team. Other team members were graciously provided housing at a resident’s home in Sea Girt NJ.

 

A poolside barbeque get-together sponsored by Atlantic Club, Manasquan NJ served as a time to re-acquaint the members from Team Oscar Mike and the Operation Beachhead Team. The Atlantic Club was festively decorated with the Operation Beachhead theme colors and the Atlantic Club staff wore Operation Beachhead shirts.  The food consisted of delicious barbequed hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken, corn on the cob and salads. The staff was very accommodating; making sure everyone had what they needed.

 

The weekend was off to a good start.


Beach Day

Team Oscar Mike joined the Operation Beachhead Team for a day of “storming the surf” on Saturday, June 25th.  An overwhelming number of volunteers came out to help with the larger than normal amount of participants.  A great crew of St Rose High School students and their families came out for the day to lend their talents for the day(pictured on left).

 

The volunteers started early getting some of the Operation Beachhead Team in the water before the Oscar Mike Team arrived on the beach. It was a beautiful day, as our regular team members, took to the boards and rode wave after wave.  There was no hesitation on the part of the volunteers to get the day going and to make sure everyone was able to get the Operation Beachhead experience.



Once the Oscar Mike Team arrived, the Operation Beachhead team members deferred to them and were willing to let them “take control” and  “establish beachhead”.  Many of the Oscar Mike Team traveled as far away as Illinois to share the weekend with Operation Beachhead and experience a day in the ocean. Something that is not available where many of the Oscar Mike team come from.

 

It didn’t take long for the Oscar Mike members to get into the waves.  The volunteers worked tirelessly to get up to four members in the water at one time.  It takes many volunteers to assist one participant in the water; depending on the disability and the chosen water equipment, there can be up to 10 volunteers assisting one person.

 

Some of the Oscar Mike members were fearless in attempting taking kayaks out. The volunteers assisted in getting the kayak users out past the wave break and then the user experienced kayaking on their own under the watchful eyes of the volunteers and the Sea Girt lifeguards. Others used tandem kayaks with the assistance of a volunteer.  As with all Operation Beachhead beach-days, it is always inspiring to watch participants trust their safety to surf instructors and to observe how seriously and untiringly the volunteers work to earn that trust. 


While all the activity was going on in the water back on the beach, a massage therapist worked to soothe the muscles of the participants and volunteers.  After several hours in the water, the lunch team prepared the lunch area in the beach picnic space.  Both teams shared lunch, which was provided and donated by one of the Operation Beachhead team members, John Richter.

 

A long beach-day could not be possible without the tireless volunteers. The watermen/women and catchers worked most of the day to make sure that each participant was safe and was able to get the full experience of the ocean.

 

An unrewarding job is the cleanup and storing of the equipment. Many of the same volunteers, who worked all day on the beach and in the water, continued to work until the equipment was moved from the beach, washed down, and stored away.  We are grateful to the Sea Girt Beach Staff in helping to move the equipment from the beach.

An Evening of Dinner and Dancing

Culminating a day of surfing, was an evening of dinner and dancing hosted by the Essex and Sussex. As in the past years, resident Ginny Duffy Shutner put together a wonderful evening for Operation Beachhead. Team Oscar Mike and Operation Beachhead mingled with the residents of the Essex and Sussex at a cocktail hour before heading into dinner.

 

Dinner was accompanied by the music of Turnpike Mike, who had everyone dancing from the minute he started playing.  Turnpike Mike was yet another donation made to Operation Beachhead to make the evening a successful and enjoyable time.  Thanks to the residents and staff for making Operation Beachhead feel so welcomed.

 

Sunday was the last day for some members of Oscar Mike as they had to head home, but before heading back they were treating to lunch at the Sea Girt home of Mary Dougherty.  While some members headed to the airport other members enjoyed another day of surfing.

 

As with all good things, the weekend came to an end on Sunday evening when both teams met for one last time to share a complimentary dinner offered by the Reef and Barrel of Manasquan, NJ.