Michael Ricci – Operation Beachhead - 7/2/13
Today I had the pleasure of naming Michael Ricci of Operation Beachhead a NJ Hero. Michael is a combat-decorated veteran who served in Vietnam and sustained permanent injuries. Three years ago he started the non-profit foundation, Operation Beachhead, which helps disabled veterans and members of his community learn how to take part in water sports, like surfing, through an adaptive sports program. From the minute I met Michael on the beach in Sea Girt, his personality and energy were infectious. He is incredibly passionate about helping others through Operation Beachhead and was very “hands on” throughout the day. It was amazing to see the pure happiness on the participants’ faces as they caught a wave to shore. In addition to helping disabled veterans, he has expanded his program to include individuals with disabilities such as autism and other special needs. Operation Beachhead allows its participants to enjoy sports and recreational activities they would otherwise be unable to take part in. The list of activities includes: surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, boogie boarding, ice skating, sled skating/hockey, and wheelchair basketball. I also had the chance to meet his partner in this endeavor, Shayne Boyle, who is a local professional surfer and helped to start the program 3 years ago. It was wonderful to see all of the local volunteers that came out in support of Michael, Shayne, and their awesome program. We are very proud to name Michael Ricci a New Jersey Hero! For more information on Operation Beachhead, please visit their website: http://www.opbeachhead.org/.
To see additional photos from this event, taken by Tom Conte, please visit: http://s1150.photobucket.com/user/tom_conte/library/Operation%20Beachhead%201%20July%202013