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Weekend Events Raise Funds and Spirits

Lights, music, benefits bring some much needed holiday spirit to Long Beach Island.

Nobody at the Dutchman's Brauhas was sure the story that launched the restaurant’s Habitat for Humanity fundraisers to aid Sandy victims is actually true.

The story is of a Beach Haven West couple in their nineties who were supposedly found inside their home with the wife sitting on a chair on top of the kitchen table while her husband held the table down to prevent it from floating away during the storm’s peak.

"We still have not found them, so we are not sure whether they are real or our own urban myth. But we did know a lot of people needed help after Sandy," said David Schmid, one of the four brothers and co-owners of the Dutchman’s.                                   

The brothers, David, Bob, Bill and Rick, went on to raise more than $6000 for the organization with a series of benefits that concluded with a rocking party last Saturday night that featured The Buck-Charles Band with special guest, bluesman Pat Karwin.

Meanwhile, there were hundreds of people who donated $20 or more as they streamed in an out of the Surf City Firehouse that afternoon and evening to benefit LBI's fire stations and first aid squads. The funds raised are slated to be divided equally between all the first responder units on the island.  

The tables in the fire company’s hall and engine bays were full of thankful residents and homeowners, who mingled with the squad members and volunteer firefighters. Handshakes, backslaps and hugs were evidenced everywhere as Sandy’s heroes and victims finally had time for thank-yous and to catch up with each other as life began to return to normal on LBI.   

Among the entertainers, that included David Christopher, Love Puppies and others was Dave Sodano, of the Ship Bottom Division of the Beach Haven First Aid Squad. Well known for his Frank Sinatra tribute show, Sodano opened with “Summer Wind,” as an optimistic look to the blue skies ahead.

Maggie O’Neill, president of the Ship Bottom Merchants Association, and other members were there, but left for an event more in time with season - a Christmas tree lighting in front of the Municipal Building later that evening. The association and borough decided it was time get back into the spirit of the season and put the storm behind them, said O'Neill.

“Everybody needs a little Christmas right now,” she said. Part of Christmas is shopping, and O’Neill also noted that LBI is indeed already re-open for business with more than 70 shops, restaurants and other businesses back in operation and more on the way.

In Beach Haven, two other businesses were combining fundraising with Christmas. Kapler’s Pharmacy and Regenerate Eco-Friendly Gift Shop held their Stocking Stuffing event to benefit to the borough’s first responders.

Participants donated $20 for a Christmas stocking at the gift shop and then went next store and stuffed them with a selection of health and beauty products, sweets, notions and many of the other items the more than just a drug store is famous for on LBI.

After raising approximately $2000 for their first responders, many headed up Engleside Avenue to the Long Beach Island Museum and Veteran Bicentennial Park for a Christmas celebration and tree lighting.

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