John Wayne Airport (JWA) welcomed wounded veterans from throughout the United States for a weeklong event with Operation Surf in Huntington Beach. Fifteen active-duty veterans arrived at JWA on June 3 and were greeted by an ovation of volunteers from the Bob Hope USO at JWA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), California Highway Patrol (CHP), local law enforcement officers and JWA staff.
The veterans boarded a coach bus and were escorted by a motorcade of police officers from cities throughout Orange County where they will begin a week-long adaptive surfing program.
Operation Surf offers the program for wounded-veteran and active-duty military men and women. Each participant receives dry-land instruction, including a discussion of any technique or equipment adaptations that may be needed, and are trained in equipment and ocean safety. This is followed by several days of surfing, during which goals are set, reached, and conquered, and perceived physical limitations are surpassed. In the evenings, there are dinners filled with camaraderie, bonding, and story sharing. At the final dinner, awards are given to acknowledge each participant’s accomplishments.
“This is one of our favorite community partnerships,” said Airport Director, Barry Rondinella. “We are all deeply proud of these brave young men and women, and we are honored to be a part of this worthwhile program.”