Rockaway Brings Hope to the Warriors


They came, they saw, they had fun! Last Thursday, the community welcomed Hope for the Warriors to town and honored our wounded veterans with a warm welcome parade, followed by a weekend chock-full of fun activities.

On Thursday, July 12, residents lined the streets to cheer on the warriors as they came through Neponsit, Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park, and Roxbury and Breezy Point, and so marked the start of the Hope for the Warriors weekend. The weekend included adaptive surfing lessons from AmpSurf, kayaking and paddleboarding, plus sailing and fishing provided by the Rockaway Point Yacht Club. The warriors were also treated to a dinner cruise around the city on board the Star of New York, catered by Ludwig’s Catering. The weekend ended with a memorial service at the Breezy Point September 11 Memorial, led by Blessed Trinity Parish.

Organizers, volunteers, many local businesses and a large donation by the Gary Sinise Foundation make this event possible each year and enjoyable to all involved, from those cheering the warriors on at the parade, to the participants and the volunteers.

“It was awesome to welcome all of those superheroes to Rockaway,” local little girl, Lily Levasseur, said, as she and her family and friends cheered on the warriors during Thursday’s parade.

Participants also had a great time. “I enjoyed a totally awesome weekend with Hope for Warriors,” Shirley Ferguson of Norristown, PA said. “Even the surfing! Our first time but we had a great time! What inspired us to surf is seeing my son-in-law and the other wounded veterans that have been through war and got hurt, but keep going. So I said to myself, I’m going for it for them!”

Joey Mac, a Hope for the Warriors staff member, said, “Thank you to everyone that made this event possible! My NYC staff and I spent a fantastic weekend with these amazing Warriors and their families. To hear and witness veterans overcoming their challenges and hardships became the biggest highlight of my weekend. These warriors continue to inspire me and our great nation! Semper Fi!”

Congratulations to all on yet another successful warriors weekend!