Seaside Heights officials welcomed American service members and their families from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Friday, with the borough and local businesses teaming up to say thanks with a day to remember.
“We arrange lunch, an entertainer, boat rides, the water park and rides,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “These are folks who don’t live too far, but might not regularly be able to make it out to the beach. They are our service people and we want to thank them for their service.”
The borough, which was the first town in New Jersey to offer free beach access to military members and their families, planned a day for the second year in a row for Joint Base staff. Seaside Realty provided lunch at Jimbo’s, several parking lots offered up free spaces and Casino Pier provided free access to the water park and rides.
“It’s never a bad day when you get to the beach,” said Command Master Chief Josh Miller, who is in charge of morale at the base. “To come here and be around such hospitable people is great. I’m not from New Jersey, but Jersey is always very good to our military, and we appreciate it.”
The annual day in Seaside Heights is organized by residents, who coordinate with Miller’s office. It is part of a larger effort on the part of the town to attract service members and their families: free beach access is granted daily and a large number of business participate in providing military discounts.
“Seaside Heights has been a leader in being military-friendly at the Shore,” said Mike Loundy, Director of Community Improvements for the borough and owner of Seaside Realty. “We really wanted to chip in and give these folks a great day in Seaside Heights. We like to see them in town.”