A Walk About Town is a weekly feature hosted here at Coffee and a Book Chick throughout the month of December. Anyone can participate; for those who do, simply write a post, include the button you see to the left in the sidebar, and add your link in the Linky below so that we can all visit your post. You do not need to include a picture to participate.
"A beach park & playground for every body."
It's time to put aside simple disagreements with others. Not only is it the holidays, but no matter how big it might feel at the time, anything is pretty inconsequential after you visit Grommet Island Beach Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
On the History tab of Grommet Island's web page, the tag line reads "From Adversity, the Birth of an Idea." Nothing could be more compelling and humbling. In 2006, at the incredibly young age of 33, Josh Thompson was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A passionate surfer, Josh was forced to begin a new chapter in his life.
While family and friends headed to the beach one summer day, Josh had to stay back because there just wasn't any access to the beach that could accommodate his wheelchair, nor was there any place that he would be able to get across the sand to the shoreline and see the waves he loved. It is this obstacle that inspired Josh's father Bruce to begin the plans to create a place that would be accessible to everyone. The city of Virginia Beach also came through and with the help of the city and local companies, not to mention the resounding support of the residents of Virginia Beach, Grommet Island Beach Park at 2nd Street became a reality and just last year, in 2010, the Grand Opening was held. Since that time, more than $4 million has been raised to support research, park funding, and the ALS association.
This is one of the most extraordinary places I've ever been to. The vision of creating a spot for anyone, regardless if they were in a wheelchair or not, to comfortably access the beach and shoreline also produced a playground and a statue of father and son surfers. I loved every moment today, but I started to wonder about other beaches in the country, in the world. How easy is it for someone who is wheelchair-bound to access the shore and see the ocean that brings peace to many? How could you help make a difference in your community?
It is an unprecedented location and I was honored to be there today. I tip my hat to Bruce Thompson, the city and residents of Virginia Beach, the companies supporting it, and most especially to one surfer named Josh.
To see more about the site and to make a donation, please click here. For more information on the ALS Association and to make a donation, please click here.
To participate in A Walk About Town and to highlight a spot in your area, grab the button in the sidebar, write up a post, and then add your link to the Linky below.