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My Turn: Jones Beach inspired Dad’s special attention

In this undated photo, Chester Tuthill shows his

In this undated photo, Chester Tuthill shows his bicycle and the steps he painted at the West Bath House at Jones Beach. Credit: Chester Tuthill

If you frequent the West Bath House at Jones Beach, you may notice that the white trip lines on the steps leading down to the beach in various locations are not as bright or defined as they were in years past.

It’s not because of a budget cut or someone forgetting to do their job. It’s because my 94-year-old father, Chester Tuthill, passed away last December.

Every summer, for as long as I can remember after he retired, my father would go down to Jones Beach on any given sunny day during the week. He would walk right into the supply room at the beach and pick up a can of white paint and a brush and get to work.

He wasn’t doing this as a part of any senior volunteer program. He didn’t ask permission, and he certainly didn’t get paid for it. He just simply saw a job that needed to be done and decided to do it.

The workers at the beach knew him well, and no one ever asked him what he was doing and why, or tried to stop him.

He did this without fanfare or a need to be acknowledged for his work. He did it because it needed to be done, and it was something that he could do. My father loved Jones Beach with a passion, and enjoyed eating his lunch there after his few hours of painting.

There isn’t a plaque on the boardwalk with his name, or a bench in his honor. What remains is some chipped white paint covered in part by sand that needs someone to notice.

So the next time you walk down the boardwalk or beach near the West Bath House, please observe the trip lines and remember that an old man used to delight in making our beaches a little bit nicer. That old man was my father.

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