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Just Sayin': A close call in Long Beach surf, and then help

Reader letters to Newsday for Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019

Waves break off of Long Beach, N.Y., in

Waves break off of Long Beach, N.Y., in an image taken in summer 2019 by reader Mark Van Brunt of Freeport. Photo Credit: Mark Van Brunt

While boogie boarding off Long Beach on Sept. 21, a huge wave rolled over me and ripped the leash from my board, sending it toward shore without me.

I thought I could bodysurf in, but a rip current started taking me out. There were no lifeguards on duty. I tried to swim toward a jetty, aware that a wave could crash me onto the rocks. Each time I tried to grab the rocks, which were slippery with moss and barnacles, the rip current pulled me away.

I felt myself going under and losing my breath. Panicked, I called for help. Then a voice from behind yelled, “Sir, get away from the rocks or you will get crushed! Grab my board!”

I thought about going to the surfer, but the jetty was closer, so I took my chances on grabbing the rocks. The surfer stayed with me until he saw I was able to safely crawl onto the jetty.

My fingers, arms and legs were bloody from the rocks, and the surfer called out, “You OK?”

I called out and thanked him. He smiled, waved, said he was glad I was OK and paddled away.

I didn’t get the surfer’s name, but I’m writing this to thank him again for his brave act of kindness, which I think helped save my life. God bless you.

Mark Van Brunt, Freeport

9/11 memorial needs better maintenance

In the summer, I visit Point Lookout and always park by the 9/11 memorial near the town beach. I notice that the memorial is not continuously maintained by the Town of Hempstead. Based on what I’ve seen, only in the days before Sept. 11 are weeds removed and the area cleaned up.

In fact, around 6 p.m. on Sept. 5, I saw mulch left in haphazard piles in the memorial’s garden area and pulled weeds left behind on the pavement.

Why would a crew leave it that way at the end of a workday? What would it have taken for workers to properly spread the mulch and remove the weeds?

There was no excuse for this lack of respect for the memorial and 9/11 families.

Brian Clarke, Merrick


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