Written by Michelle Botello
Belmont Park welcomed veterans, their families, and friends to celebrate the Beachside Fall Fest. This event was held at Mission Beach near the boardwalk. It lasted three days, Friday - Sunday starting Nov. 15.
This is the deal for free rides. If you join the Insider Club online and present your emailed coupon with valid military or employment ID, you get two free unlimited ride passes. To win for passes to The Plunge at Fit from 2-6pm, it’s the same process.
The event included Fall themed rides and attractions, with activities such as Friday Night Music, Pie Eating Contest Saturdays, Old Mission Beach Athletic Club Blood Drive this Sunday, and the full weekend Beer Zone event. The wristbands arr buy one, get one free.
Kathryn Geoff was taking video of her son riding the Zipline for his first time, and said she is proud to be retired and spending time with her kids. Kathryn Groff, 34, a stay-at-home-mom said the service she has given makes her unique, and she served six years in the Navy, as a sales tech and then a foreman.
“Another thing that makes me unique is that I’m also married to an active duty service member. This way now I get to see the opposite side of the spectrum, so, I get to see how families feel when their loved ones are gone.”
She said being a woman,and being single, she faced some hurdles, in the service. “Some things they feel you can’t do because you’re a female,” she said , not as far as discrimination, but protocol. “Certain things, certain jobs, you can’t do.”
After reaching the top of the Sky Climb (Rock Wall), this vet was happy to share his thoughts. Chris Woodburn, 33, said what he liked about being a veteran, “Having the opportunity to fight for your country, meet people all around the world, and then, now, today, people come up to me, thank me. It’s nice.”
He got out of the service and his first obstacle was patience. “Everything in the military runs really quickly, very fast paced. When you get out it’s a bit slower, a bit more mellow.”
What was the real challenge for Woodburn was, “Slowing down, taking it back, looking at the big picture of everything.” If he had to be unique, his loyal side said, “I don’t think I am unique apart from other veterans. I think the whole veteran community is special.”
Sitting in a lunch table sipping his drink, this veteran tells me that he likes working with his hands. Isaiah Fred, 29, said, “It was an interesting experience. I went in really young.” Fred started serving at the age of 17 in Norfolk, Virginia. “I served eight years as an aircraft mechanic.”
Aviation Machinist Mates, aka US Navy aircraft engine mechanics, take care of all the details that keep a plane working, including test and repair of engines and propellers.
Fred’s biggest obstacles were the deployments, because he did four tours in Iraq. During deployment, servicemen get benefits including educational, cash bonuses tax-free housing, food allowances and pensions. The benefits cover servicemen and their families during all parts of the deployment process.
His unique quality is that he enjoys working with his hands, mechanics is where he is happy, and he doesn’t mind the labor.
Eating curly fries with her daughter, she is glad to speak out. Jonique Smith, 33, also began serving at a young age. She joined the Navy at the age of 17 and is still serving.
Smith said, “I work in a male-dominated field, so that’s kind of a challenge. Deploying is a challenge. I gotta leave away from home, and my mom, so leaving my daughter is hard.”
Smith said it’s worth it, “Yes, for the most part. Long term things you get from it.” A retired military personnel, aka as a veteran, is eligible for the following benefits: retirement pay, disability, Veteran’s Group Life Insurance, VA Health Care, VA Dental Care, Education benefits (GI Bill), and Veteran’s discounts. She plans on taking some time off when she retires.