Refreshing Encounter

Jul 19, 2017

To the Editor:

While I stood on the beach early Sunday morning, a tall young man approached and asked if I was with the surfer we both observed out in the ocean. Yes, I responded, watching as my husband did his best to catch a ride on the latest wave. “I just had to ask,” the young man continued, “because my girlfriend spends a lot of time watching as I surf and I wanted to say that now I understand what it is like to be the person waiting on the shore.”

I laughed at his admission, and we continued to converse for quite some time. His engaging smile and forthright manner was delightful to observe as was his exuberance for conversing and connecting with a complete stranger.

I learned that he was visiting with LBI friends and that he is stationed in the Navy in California. He told me he spent time in the Midwest before moving to California, where he took up surfing. Watching the waves and the lone surfer that morning in Barnegat Light made him long for a board and a chance to catch a wave. Upon hearing this, my husband, who had joined us during the conversation, quickly offered up his board, which the young man happily accepted.

I can’t tell you that the rides were amazing or that he blew us away with his skills; the ocean just wasn’t feeling particularly kind that morning. However, I can tell you that this chance encounter had a profound impact on me.

The respectful manner in which this young man conducted himself in both his words and his actions speaks volumes about the integrity and standards to which he holds himself. The obvious care he took to spend time and speak to us was a testament to his genuine sense of community. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when he told us that he is a Navy Seal, but I had never met a Seal before.

In our country, where we are faced with a daily barrage of negative news stories, violence in our streets and dishonesty in our people and politicians, how amazingly refreshing it was for me to meet such an upstanding and exclusive member of our military! I’d like to use this platform to express my gratitude to this young man and all the young men and women who give of themselves to serve our country!

Stay safe out there, each and every one of you, and God bless America!

Jennifer Guarino

Warren, N.J.


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