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The Sons of The American Legion Squadron 524 in Ocean City is honoring and helping veterans in its own way. The organization has built up its finances and membership in the past seven years to help carry out its mission.
John Watson thought he was going to a party with his stepdaughter, Ashley Hennessey. Instead, he was moved to tears by a gesture by Ashley, and by the work of members of the South Jersey Quilts of Valor Foundation, when he walked into the Seaville Fire House on Saturday afternoon. The retired Air Force staff sergeant was greeted by about 60 quilters who joined together for National Sew Day to stitch quilts for members of the military and to present some quilts to veterans.
Promotions, new hires, retirements of two K-9s and the additions of two others were all part of a swearing-in ceremony at the Cape May County Criminal Court House on Friday afternoon. Earning a promotion, a sergeant became the first female lieutenant in the Law Enforcement Division of the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, a 58-year-old former officer with the Wildwood Police Department was sworn in as an investigator after going through the police academy a second time in his life, making this ceremony anything but typical. Not to mention retiring K-9 Hank, a bloodhound, serenading the crowd in the courtroom gallery with his howls at the sound of applause.
Ocean City resident Steven Betchner retired from Wawa in 2015 after a successful career in management. Instead of basking in retirement with his wife, Kathleen, of 25 years, to enjoy grandparenthood, the two of them decided they wanted to do something really rewarding, something worthwhile. That was when Kathleen brought up the idea of becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate For Children of Atlantic and Cape May Counties.
Caitlin Quirk is a social media maven. At just 28, she has a successful business, Bowfish Kids, located on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City, and markets herself and her store through social media platforms. Quirk, of Ocean City will host a free #GirlsGetReal Rally on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. in the Ocean City Free Public Library. The event is designed to help girls ages 10 and up make the best use of social media.
John Laughlin, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1968, explained the significance of sending care packages to soldiers overseas. “If we had a program like this, it certainly would have helped morale,” Laughlin reflected recently. What began as a group of Ocean City American Legion Morvay-Miley Post 524 veterans making up four or five boxes of personal care items and snacks to ship to members of the military has grown to 15 packages a month. “The Coffee Express Program,” as it is called, is in its ninth year of operation.
A deep, resounding voice came from the back of the room at the Bill and Nancy Hughes Performing Arts Center at Ocean City High School, where crowds came to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Then, keynote speaker, Rev. Gregory Johnson, of Shiloh Baptist Church, made his way to the stage. He captured the attention of the hundreds of people who were all there to listen to the message of Dr. King during Ocean City’s 28th annual celebration. King's words resonated with those who spoke on his day, including Rev. Johnson, who recited the late civil rights leader's epic "I Have a Dream" speech from 1963.
Emma Sardy, 16, an Ocean City High School junior, and her brother, Nicholas, 12, who goes to the Intermediate School, are showing their community their proven track record of success with recycling plastics. The Sardys became involved with collecting plastics partly because of the “Trex Challenge,” a recycling program by a deck company. The company gives out benches, bird feeders and other items to the top schools.
Ocean City resident and business owner Sally Onesty, who lost her son to drugs, said she was overjoyed about being selected for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for her support of individuals and families battling the effects of addiction. The celebration will be held at noon Monday at the Bill and Nancy Hughes Performing Arts Center of Ocean City High School. Onesty, 48, who works with several area groups to help families of those battling addiction and the victims themselves, said she was surprised by the nomination and selection.
The Ocean City Tourism Development Commission will roll out a marketing campaign that shines a spotlight on all that makes the resort a vacation destination not only for families, but also millennials. The commission focuses on the Philadelphia market to attract tourists. Philadelphia is the fourth largest market in the country with about 4 million people, behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The campaign will start at the beginning of February and extend through June with the focus on both traditional and digital forms of advertising, including cable, online, television, billboards and print.