Congratulations to longtime Imperial Beach resident Friel Allen who celebrated his 100th birthday on June 22 at the Fleet Reserve! Mr. Allen was born in a, “..hollow in Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains,” he told me on Tuesday morning at the Fleet Reserve. “We didn’t have running water or electricity and we didn’t have a radio until I was seven years old.” Mr. Allen joined the U.S. Navy in 1940 at the age of 19 and was in the mountains in Virginia on shore leave when he heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Allen served on the USS Bunker Hill, one of 24 Essex class carriers built during WW-II for the U.S. Navy, and was on ship for some of the most intense and hard-fought battles in the Pacific Theater. Luckily he was not aboard when “kamikaze’s attacked the ship” during the invasion of Okinawa and there were more than 600 casualties including close to 400 deaths. The City of Imperial Beach thanks Mr. Allen for his service to our country and to our community. He is truly a member of the greatest generation and we are thankful for his role in keeping the world safe for democracy.
Mr. Friel’s life of service and sacrifice reminds us that our democracy exists because of the generations of men and women who put themselves at risk or made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States of America. That is a great lesson to remind us of the true spirit of Independence Day when we celebrate the founding of our country and our Declaration of Independence.
The U.S. The National Archives has this to say about the document that literally changed the world and helped bring about freedom and the end of tyranny not only to our own country, then a colony of England, but to peoples around the world. “The Declaration of Independence states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based. Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding, but it is powerful. Abraham Lincoln called it ‘a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.’ It continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality.”
On Monday, June 21, Imperial Beach Lifeguards celebrated the opening day of our three-decades old Junior Lifeguard program. Marine Safety Chief Adam Chase, Lifeguard Captain Jason Lindquist along with Lifeguards and Junior Lifeguard staff Adam Wraight, Melanie Martinez-Goodman, Jim Sullivan, Matt Wilson, and Paloma
Lopez among others were on hand to greet parents and more than 50 children who will participate in a variety of beach and ocean safety recreational activities this summer. The Junior Lifeguard program serves not only as a summer camp program, but for many it is a gateway to finding employment as an Ocean Lifeguard that can be a wonderful summer job or an even more exciting career. Our Junior Lifeguard program also serves as a great template for our upcoming Parks and Recreation programming. It is more important than ever that we connect with each other and make sure that our children especially, can be outside and engaged in healthy and life affirming activities.
Congratulations to all the Mar Vista High School athletic teams that competed in the CIF tournaments over the past month. It was a tough time to be a student athlete, but so many athletes in so many sports pushed themselves and their teammates to go the distance in the playoffs that it bodes well for next year’s return to a normal athletic schedule. And congrats to the 14 and under, 12 and under and 8 and under Imperial Beach Girls Softball teams who all qualified for the state championships. The 12U and 8U teams both won the South San Diego District Championship! It is so great to see the level of excellence displayed by our athletes in Imperial Beach. Good luck girls!