Two Sundays ago I took this photo that you see here and shared it on this page. A ranger from Sandy Hook on the left, and a seemingly random woman on the right. I was later contacted by the woman in this photo after posting it (Which I will share with her permission)... “Good morning. I'm wondering if I could have or buy a copy of the photo you took at Sandy Hook sunset last week. You really captured a moment in a lot of ways. My oldest child died by suicide 2 years ago. His name was Dylan, and he was an amazing human. We had no idea he was suffering." "I'm trying to connect with nature to find healing, and find myself drawn to the ocean and the sun. Dylan loved nature. I look for him in everything.” After she reached out to me, I was struck by how I was within a few feet of her, and I, the man who runs the page of the stories of people I meet, neglected to talk to this woman. It reminds me that there are people all around us who could benefit from someone asking how they are doing. Thankfully we had a really good talk via FB over the last couple of days. A big "thank you" to her for having the courage to allow me to share this story.  ~ Sandy Hook

Two Sundays ago I took this photo that you see here and shared it on this page. A ranger from Sandy Hook on the left, and a seemingly random woman on the right. I was later contacted by the woman in this photo after posting it (Which I will share with her permission)...

“Good morning. I'm wondering if I could have or buy a copy of the photo you took at Sandy Hook sunset last week. You really captured a moment in a lot of ways. My oldest child died by suicide 2 years ago. His name was Dylan, and he was an amazing human. We had no idea he was suffering."

"I'm trying to connect with nature to find healing, and find myself drawn to the ocean and the sun. Dylan loved nature. I look for him in everything.”

After she reached out to me, I was struck by how I was within a few feet of her, and I, the man who runs the page of the stories of people I meet, neglected to talk to this woman. It reminds me that there are people all around us who could benefit from someone asking how they are doing. Thankfully we had a really good talk via FB over the last couple of days. A big "thank you" to her for having the courage to allow me to share this story. 

~ Sandy Hook

“Just last week I was at the Oyster Fest here, right where we are standing. My best friend and I decided to go to the beach, and I am on the beach, and I hear, ‘Help! Help!’ I go running with three or four other people and we plunge into the water and create a chain. It was a Grandfather who was out there trying to save his grandson. His grandson is rescued, but the Grandfather is now trapped in the water, can’t get back in.  “I am the closest one to him. He is trying to grab my hand, and he keeps missing it. The water keeps sucking him back out. So I go a little deeper, but still trying to be cautious, because I don’t want to be in his position. I told him, “I got you man!’ But he is still being kept from me by the ocean. He finally has my hand, but the ocean pulls him away from me again. Now I am really scared, I am thinking that’s it, that was my last shot to get him. I look around, left right, forward, and he is gone. Then I turn around, and I see a wave had pushed him halfway back to the beach, back to safety. I walked away from there, just so thankful everyone was ok.  “Then I find out this morning that one of my best friends drowned in the ocean in Seaside Park yesterday. A wave took her. I was supposed to go out for pizza with her soon. Now I am never going to see her again. The ocean… The ocean is the most powerful thing on this earth, it’s incredible. I want people to know to please respect it.”  ~ Pt. Pleasant

“Just last week I was at the Oyster Fest here, right where we are standing. My best friend and I decided to go to the beach, and I am on the beach, and I hear, ‘Help! Help!’ I go running with three or four other people and we plunge into the water and create a chain. It was a Grandfather who was out there trying to save his grandson. His grandson is rescued, but the Grandfather is now trapped in the water, can’t get back in. 

“I am the closest one to him. He is trying to grab my hand, and he keeps missing it. The water keeps sucking him back out. So I go a little deeper, but still trying to be cautious, because I don’t want to be in his position. I told him, “I got you man!’ But he is still being kept from me by the ocean. He finally has my hand, but the ocean pulls him away from me again. Now I am really scared, I am thinking that’s it, that was my last shot to get him. I look around, left right, forward, and he is gone. Then I turn around, and I see a wave had pushed him halfway back to the beach, back to safety. I walked away from there, just so thankful everyone was ok. 

“Then I find out this morning that one of my best friends drowned in the ocean in Seaside Park yesterday. A wave took her. I was supposed to go out for pizza with her soon. Now I am never going to see her again. The ocean… The ocean is the most powerful thing on this earth, it’s incredible. I want people to know to please respect it.” 

~ Pt. Pleasant

“My family is very estranged from one another. I only have my dad in my life. My mom lost custody of me when I was younger, because she was abusive and a drug addict, so my dad got custody of me. The last time I heard from my mother she was in Florida and was arrested for stealing. I haven’t seen my mom in over a decade, since I was 10. I have had a long time to come to peace with it. Of course everyone wants a mother in life, but I have come to peace with the fact that my mother will never be that for me.  “My dad is pretty strict, and sometimes my relationship with him is rocky, but I know he just wants what is best for me. It took a while for me to see that. I went through the whole rebellious teenager phase, but then I have come to realize that he was the one person in my who always had my back.”   ~ Seaside Park  

“My family is very estranged from one another. I only have my dad in my life. My mom lost custody of me when I was younger, because she was abusive and a drug addict, so my dad got custody of me. The last time I heard from my mother she was in Florida and was arrested for stealing. I haven’t seen my mom in over a decade, since I was 10. I have had a long time to come to peace with it. Of course everyone wants a mother in life, but I have come to peace with the fact that my mother will never be that for me. 

“My dad is pretty strict, and sometimes my relationship with him is rocky, but I know he just wants what is best for me. It took a while for me to see that. I went through the whole rebellious teenager phase, but then I have come to realize that he was the one person in my who always had my back.”

 

~ Seaside Park

 

"My friend and I always wanted a lot of surfboards, but we never had the money to buy new ones. So we decided to buy the raw material and teach ourselves how to make our own surfboards. My friend and I have had this business for two months now. It’s called Frequency Surf and you can find us on Instagram.” ~ Mansquan

"My friend and I always wanted a lot of surfboards, but we never had the money to buy new ones. So we decided to buy the raw material and teach ourselves how to make our own surfboards. My friend and I have had this business for two months now. It’s called Frequency Surf and you can find us on Instagram.”

~ Mansquan

“He was diagnosed at 4 with Aspergers. It helped me to understand him better, and to know how to relate to him. There definitely were times as he was growing up that were challenging. I remember when he was little, there were times when I would sit at the end of the bed and wonder who is he was going to be when he grew up, how is he was going to turn out. Well, he is now 18 years old, and he is starting college in the fall at The College of New Jersey to study Chemistry, and I couldn’t be prouder.” ~ Bay Head

“He was diagnosed at 4 with Aspergers. It helped me to understand him better, and to know how to relate to him. There definitely were times as he was growing up that were challenging. I remember when he was little, there were times when I would sit at the end of the bed and wonder who is he was going to be when he grew up, how is he was going to turn out. Well, he is now 18 years old, and he is starting college in the fall at The College of New Jersey to study Chemistry, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

~ Bay Head

“The most negative thing I ever did that became a positive for me…. I got locked up when I was 23 for selling drugs, and I let my oldest son when he was seven, come and visit me once. When he came into the prison, and when I saw the look on his face when he saw me locked up, I told my mother, ‘Don’t ever bring him back.’ Then as he was growing up, after seeing all that I had gone through, he got through it all alright. Today he is a dentist in Virginia Beach. He told me, ‘Pops, I had seen what you went through, and I didn't ever want to be like that.’ So what I went through going to prison, made my son a better person when he grew up.” ~ Ocean Grove  

“The most negative thing I ever did that became a positive for me…. I got locked up when I was 23 for selling drugs, and I let my oldest son when he was seven, come and visit me once. When he came into the prison, and when I saw the look on his face when he saw me locked up, I told my mother, ‘Don’t ever bring him back.’ Then as he was growing up, after seeing all that I had gone through, he got through it all alright. Today he is a dentist in Virginia Beach. He told me, ‘Pops, I had seen what you went through, and I didn't ever want to be like that.’ So what I went through going to prison, made my son a better person when he grew up.”

~ Ocean Grove

 

“I was born in 1975, and there was just so much negativity surrounding being gay while I was growing up. When I was growing up in the 80's and the 90's, being gay was not something that was talked about. It was very marginalized. I was being called faggot and gay long before I ever even knew what that meant... Long before I was even aware of my sexuality, just because I was different from the other kids. “I didn't want to be gay, because I wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be like everyone else. But at a certain point I was like, 'No, you're gay, you have to admit it to yourself.' And that’s when I knew I had to start to come out. I had to come out very, very slowly. To friends, and then family, and slowly, over the years. My father was the hardest one to tell. He point blank finally asked me, 'Are you gay?' When I said 'Yes," he broke down and cried. “Twenty years later at this point in my life, I have tons of friends who all know, and my family knows, so it's much better. I have lived in Asbury Park with my partner for ten years now, and it has a great community for gays to feel welcome there. Life is better for me now.” ~ Ocean Grove

“I was born in 1975, and there was just so much negativity surrounding being gay while I was growing up. When I was growing up in the 80's and the 90's, being gay was not something that was talked about. It was very marginalized. I was being called faggot and gay long before I ever even knew what that meant... Long before I was even aware of my sexuality, just because I was different from the other kids.

“I didn't want to be gay, because I wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be like everyone else. But at a certain point I was like, 'No, you're gay, you have to admit it to yourself.' And that’s when I knew I had to start to come out. I had to come out very, very slowly. To friends, and then family, and slowly, over the years. My father was the hardest one to tell. He point blank finally asked me, 'Are you gay?' When I said 'Yes," he broke down and cried.

“Twenty years later at this point in my life, I have tons of friends who all know, and my family knows, so it's much better. I have lived in Asbury Park with my partner for ten years now, and it has a great community for gays to feel welcome there. Life is better for me now.”

~ Ocean Grove