My friend Wes asked me if I wanted to help him get paraplegic children to surf at the U.S. Open of Surfing at Hungtington Beach. At least that’s what I thought he said because I was “all in.” He picked up my boss, Ray and I the following morning, and we headed to the beach. Turns out, I heard wrong, and no children were involved. The surfers who needed help were former pro surfers, who had been paralyzed by injury, but are now participating in “Life Rolls On.” We ended up volunteering as a board catchers and retrieved runaway boards for the surfers. It was amazing to watch all the volunteers support the surfers by carrying them into the water then gang-paddling the surfers 100 yards out to the line up. Each surfer was then towed into a wave. When a surfer fell off his board, the volunteers swam to help the surfer float face up. I retrieved the surfer-less board, swam it back to the group, who then lifted the surfer back on his board and returned him to the lineup. It was fantastic teamwork, and these surfers were inspiring as they promoted their cause and their sport without the use of their limbs. Not only did we get to be a part of this, we also got to hang out behind the scenes of the event, and I met the founder of “Life Rolls On,” Jesse Billauer. Volunteering is rewarding, and provides for some surprising once-in-a-lifetime moments.
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