Chef Mike Jurusz, owner of Chef Mike’s ABG in South Seaside Park, is planning his second annual beach benefit to support Paws 4 Vets, an organization which matches service animals with veterans suffering the aftermath of war – physical or otherwise.
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, Jurusz is continuing the new tradition with a second event that he hopes will be even bigger than the first.
“This is our second annual event for this and we want to make it even bigger than last year,” Jurusz said in an e-mail. “Some of you already have done shows on the beach with me and know the fun we have … we are expecting over 500 people to this one.”
This year’s event will, again, feature dishes from eight local chefs, local beer, wine and liquor from sponsors and a gift auction. There will also be raffles and prizes, plus face painting for kids.
The event will be held Sunday, June 12 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $50 per person. A Facebook page has been set up to keep those interested informed of the benefit. Tickets can be purchased on the Chef Mike’s ABG website.