Chef Mike Jurusz, owner of Chef Mike’s ABG in South Seaside Park, hosted his second annual beach party Sunday to support the paws4vets organization, which matches veterans suffering from physical and mental injuries with service dogs to help them in their daily lives.
On hand: chefs from some of the Shore’s favorite restaurants – Jersey Shore BBQ, Joe Leone’s, Bum Roger’s, Ohana Grill, Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Ebbys and, of course, Chef Mike’s ABG – as well as hundreds of supporters, bagpipers, service organizations and some of the very Golden Retrievers who will one day be a lifesaver for a veteran who could use a helping hand.
“It’s a good day to give back,” said Jurusz, who hosted the benefit at his outdoor tiki bar and beach under cloudless skies and some the warmest temperatures so far this year.
The first event supporting the organization came last year, after Jurusz met Adam Campbell, a U.S. Army veteran who grew up in Lakewood and served on the front lines during four tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. After spending months in a hospital, paralyzed, after he was attacked by an IED and RPG fire, Campell regained his physical strength, but suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. (See our full story from 2015 on Campbell.)
Paws 4 Vets was responsible for providing Campbell with Kenan, his service dog, who he credits with saving his life. The organization, Campbell told Shorebeat last year, operates under a “pay it forward” system, where veterans matched with service dogs are asked to help fund canines for others. Jurusz offered his beachfront restaurant to Campbell as a fundraising opportunity, organizing numerous local chefs to prepare food at a beach party.
This year’s beach party also featured Bridge Avenue Barber Shop in Point Pleasant raising money through haircuts on the beach, a Humvee on display and support from the Seaside Park PBA.
Organizers were still tallying the proceeds from the event as the party ended late Sunday afternoon.