Local residents host guests in their homes instead of
lodging the visiting service members at a hotel, creating an
informal getaway for visiting families, said Lupe.
"We want to let these guys know we really appreciate what
they've done for us," said Jerry Snell, Long Beach
Waterfront Warriors chairperson.
"The entire community has really stepped up," he said.
He said the community wanted to create a relaxing respite
for families going through the long process of recovering
from war injuries.
Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Wilson, an infantryman, has gone
through just about every emotion since being injured in Iraq
in 2006. Here, he relaxed on the beach while his three
children played in the water.
After his leg was amputated had to decided if he should
stay in the Marine Corps.
"It was very tough initially. You feel worthless to the
Marine Corps and you don't want to be a burden to anybody,"
said Wilson, Marine Liaison Office, Walter Reed Army Medical
Center, company gunnery sergeant.
As he began recovering physically his optimism increased
as well. He was one of the first amputee Marines to attend
the Advanced Course, a two-month resident course in advanced
leadership and field tactics.
"I can do anything an able-bodied Marine can do, I just
need to be more creative with how I do it, and that's what
grunts are good at," he said.
Wilson was recently selected for promotion to first
sergeant and hopes to move from Walter Reed to a position
back in the Marine Corps later this year.
By default, these wounded warriors must triumph over
They've suffered traumatic injuries, but they need to
move past that.
Hutchinson hadn't stopped trying to surf. After one
particularly hard fall off the board, a lifeguard and some
volunteers in the water nearby attempted to provide an out
for her. "You ready to get out?"
Someone even motioned to her wheelchair on the beach.
She didn't bite, and with some help paddled back out to
Like plenty of other wounded warriors she'd moved beyond
being embarrassed by slips and falls from her physical
She was going to surf.
She laid out on the board and with the momentum of the
wave she slid forward, pushed herself up and planted her one
leg on the board.
And for one fleeting moment she was finally surfing.