Amazing Help

Aug 02, 2017

To the Editor:

I will be 44 years old in August, and I’ve been coming to LBI since I was 3 years old. Initially, we came as renters, and then in 1984 my brothers and I were fortunate when my parents bought a house on Division Street in Surf City. That is the beach we went to for many years.

I was then lucky enough to buy a place in 2009, only one street from my parents, on North First Street in Surf City, where my kids now ride their bikes up and down the street, and play wiffle ball, lacrosse and whatever other games 9-year-olds like to play. (They are identical twin boys). Over the years, we have met many friends on the street. Some might just wave and smile while walking back and forth to the beach. Some we sit with on the beach, and some have even invited me to go on “guys” trips in the off-season with them. It really is just a fantastic street for families and friends.

For all the years I’ve been coming to the Island, I’ve never personally experienced any tragic accidents, which, if you know me, is very surprising, especially considering they used to have those trampolines in Ship Bottom. Unfortunately, this summer, my luck ran out.

On Saturday, July 22, I was skimboarding with one of my sons, as it was a typical, perfect LBI day. My dad and brother were sitting in the water, watching, along with many other friends and beach-goers. It was low tide, and the water was perfect. Well, we then had a terrible accident.

My son, Bronston, was laying in the water, taking a break, and my board slipped out from under me and struck him in the forehead. It was an awful gash, and my brother leapt up out of his chair immediately and used his towel to cover the wound and keep pressure on it. I immediately sprinted to the lifeguard and yelled for her to call an ambulance.

By the time I got back to Bronston, which could not have been more than one minute, there were already about five people around him helping out. At least two of them were obviously trained in the medical field, thank God. Phil Pape, who is retired from the New York Fire Department, was at my son’s head, keeping his body straight, and another gentleman, whose name is Joe and that’s all I know about him, had a medical bag with gauze pads, sanitizers and basically everything else we needed.

Both Joe and Phil were awesome. They talked to my son, keeping him calm, asking him questions to make sure he was still coherent, and basically doing what trained medics are taught to do. I was at Bronston’s legs and was an absolute mess. It’s one thing to see your child injured like this, but knowing that you are the one who caused the accident, well, let’s just say I hope nobody ever has to experience that.

Other friends and random beach-goers all helped out. A special shout-out to Matt and Tara Kelly for being fantastic throughout this ordeal. A bunch of people held a blanket over Bronston to help keep the sun off of him. Random people, some whom I had just met that day, were all gathered around, seeing what they could do to help. People brought over water, more towels and asked if there was anything they could do.

At the time, everything was a blur, and I didn’t realize what was going on around us. My main concern was Bronston. The police showed up, followed by the ambulance and paramedics. They were all, simply put, amazing. We got Bronston off the beach, into the ambulance and off to the hospital. Throughout everything that was going on, Bronston was a champ! He did everything he was told to do, he answered everyone’s questions, and he kept calm. He actually helped keep me calm as well.

After about 50 or so stitches from a plastic surgeon, the little guy is doing great. He’s right back to fighting with Dominick, his twin brother, and running around like a typical 9-year-old boy.

The generosity of the people of North First Street did not end when the ambulance pulled away either. Since then, people have been dropping off treats and presents. One good friend even tracked us down at Island Golf to give Bronston some tasty snacks. People have given everything from cookies and crumb cakes to cap guns and a skateboard (very funny, Kenny!).

We live in Maryland, and I’ve been asked many times why we come up to the Jersey Shore in the summer rather than a beach in Maryland or Delaware. While I have many reasons, the people here are definitely one of the top ones. To my family, friends, the lifeguards, the police, the paramedics, and everyone who was on the beach that day, I just want to say thank you.

Jon Brothers

Glen Burnie, Md.


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