A light breeze cooled the crowd as dusk set in on the street outside of the Press Box. The music played a mix that had a little something for everyone. People mingled, ate plates of barbecue, told stories, perused the silent auction items, talked trash and seemed to be having a good time.
The beach party of the year went well. For me, on this 17th year we’ve had this fundraiser, things seemed to fall in place. Layers of groups all mixed together. There were rookie lifeguards doing most of the work, recurrent guards and their families, beach maintenance and beach park employees, a reunion of guards who worked for us years ago, Galveston partyers, people who work the beach in various capacities, city and county officials and employees, people who just came out to support what we do and 10- to 15-year-old Junior Lifeguards running around.
A lot of people and groups put in a ton of work to make this happen and make it run smoothly. There are too many to include here, but I and we sincerely thank all of them and all of the people who came out to support and donate so generously.
It looks like we were able to raise quite a bit of money to support our scholarship program, our Junior Guard families who bring their kids to the national guard competition, lifeguard exchange program, specialty equipment and a number of other good things that we do but can’t provide from a governmental budget.
But more than just a fundraiser, this event has come to signify a pause in the summer madness. It’s a chance for all of us that work so hard on the beach and that deal with tourists in other capacities to relax for a minute. We get to take a breath, spend some time together and have a little fun before diving back in.
For me, it’s a chance to acknowledge that no matter how cuckoo we Galvestonians can be, there is something special about living here. A chance to remember how much I genuinely like so many people who live on this island.
It’s also a marker. Junior Lifeguards who attended the first barbecue fundraiser event at 10 years of age are now pushing 30 and are teaching the next generation how to be lifeguards while instilling those intangible values that beach people around the world share. Teaching them to enjoy life, honor each other, live simply, be of service, put another’s life before your own when needed, work with the water environment instead of imposing yourself on it and to respect the water and marine environment.
So, before I dive back into the second half of the summer along with the 100 guards I’m privileged to work with, let us say a collective thank you to everyone who supported this event and supports us throughout the years and decades. It means more than we could ever express and enables us to do the work we do.