Covering the Shore Dreams For Kids event last July in Seaside Heights, N.J., was easiest it’s ever been for me because—thanks to Anna Trulio, my then-20-year-old daughter—I didn’t have to do the work. Anna and her boyfriend, Dave Rowe, happened to be staying that weekend at the New Jersey Shore with our longtime family friends, Bob and Madelyn Christie. And they and invited Anna and Dave to share in the one-day privilege of helping mentally and physically challenged children and adults enjoy a day of powerboat rides, food and carnival-style fun.
A junior majoring in psychology at Goucher College just outside Baltimore, Anna wrote about her experience.
At the time, I had no idea her piece would be the last—at least for now unless something miraculous happens—on the event. But earlier this month, Shore Dreams president and board member Geralyn Monroe announced the annual, all-volunteer-produced happening had come to an end.
Having always covered Shore Dreams from afar, I was delighted to have representation—especially blood representation—at the 2018 event. At last, one Trulio had made it to Shore Dreams and I took more than little ribbing about that last year from my Garden State friends. And I have a lot of friends in the New Jersey powerboating community.
In addition to the Christies, I count Dave Patnaude and Joe Nasso—both former Shore Dreams board members—as wonderful friends. Through them, I got to know my hilarious buddy Frank “The Jersey Devil” Civitano and his long-suffering, eye-rolling wife, Melissa, as well as Thomas and Andrea Anselmi, two of the kindest and most gracious people I’ve ever met. I also got to know the late Anthony Sauta, a man of great spirit and generosity. Through the Christies, I met my pal Chuck Sprague, a former Penske Indy Car team manager from Virginia, who was adopted into the Jersey crew and even wrote the now-defunct New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club’s “Poker Run 10 Commandments.”
So even from 3,000 miles west, Shore Dreams For Kids became personal for me.
If you search “Shore Dreams For Kids” on speedonthewater.com, you get 54 results going all the way back to 2010. But my favorite piece—disqualifying what my daughter wrote last year because she is, after all, my daughter—is “Shore Dreams For Kids—Or All of Us?” and was penned by Rich Luhrs, a Garden State product and longtime friend now living the good life in North Carolina.
As the father of a physically challenged son, Luhrs brought a real-world perspective to his Shore Dreams article. One passage in his beautiful piece stood out for me, and still stands out for me as I read it now:
“As my son, Darren, and I watched the day’s events unfold, I was struck by an assortment of impressions. First, the guests in many cases have spent their lives with their noses pressed up against the window of life, looking in from the outside. This event turns that situation inside out, for a day anyway, as these deserving folks get a chance in the driver’s seat, literally and figuratively.”
I cannot improve on that. But what I can do is thank everyone who made Shore Dreams For Kids happen during the years, and in particular Geralyn Monroe and John Marotta for making it happen for the past few particularly challenging years. Despite that Shore Dreams happens for just one day, planning and producing it is an incredible year-long undertaking.
And thank you Tim Sharkey of Sharkey Images for bringing Shore Dreams for Kids to life for so many years through your photographs. Your photos told the story better than any writer ever could.
Nature abhors a vacuum, meaning in a general sense—at least to me—that voids get filled if the demand to fill them is strong enough. My hope and prayer is that this particular void gets filled. But if not, Shore Dreams For Kids forever will stand as one of the most beautiful events the powerboating world has ever known.