Over the past several years, the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol (FIBP) has stood above and beyond other programs in the region and the country. Beachgoers, including vacationers and locals alike, have recognized the dedication and caliber that the guards of Fenwick Island put into their work, and now, businesses are showing their appreciation, too.
High Stakes Bar and Grill, one of Fenwick’s newest hotspots, will be holding the first FIBP Beef and Beer Benefit this Sunday, Aug. 3, to show their support of what the guards have brought to this coastal community. Raffles, entertainment, discounted food and beverages and a silent auction will be available for patrons who stop by as the cheese steak pub raises money for the patrol’s upcoming competition at nationals.
On July 19, the FIBP participated in the mid-Atlantic Regional Lifesaving Championships in Rehoboth Beach, among some of the top guards on the east coast. An impressive showing allotted five top 3 finishes, including first place in the 4 x 100 men’s relay, and first place masters in the men’s beach flag competition. Those results yielded six guards competing in the national United States Lifeguard Championships, being held August 7-9 in Manhattan Beach, CA. The men’s relay team, comprised of Ben Gichner, Matt Lewis, Colin Madden and Randy Vanderhook, will attempt their best to bring home the top spot at nationals, while FIBP captain Tim Ferry’s first place finish in beach flags and Kelly Gonzalez’s second place showing at the mid-Atlantic Regional competition earned them an upcoming shot in California, too. The competitors and results from regionals are as follows:
Surf Rescue Race (Women): 2nd Place – Kaitlin Kernan & Stacy Ogden
400-meter Swim (Women): 2nd Place – Stacy Ogden
4 x 100 Relay (Men): 1st Place – Ben Gichner, Matt Lewis, Colin Madden, Randy
4 x 100 Relay (Women): 4th Place – Ashley Hudson, Kelly Gonzalez, Courtney Aburn,
Beach Flags: 1st Place Masters (Men) – Tim Ferry; 2nd Place (Women) – Kelly Gonzalez; 6th Place (Men) – Randy Vanderhook; 7th Place (Women) – Kristen Ramey
“The lifeguards come in here a lot and really help our business,” said Brian DeLuca, owner of High Stakes Bar and Grill and Philly’s Finest. “We wanted to do something that shows we appreciate everything they do for the community.” This Sunday, he and his staff will hold the first ever Beef and Beer benefit for the guards, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. A silent auction will give guests the chance to win gift certificates to beach favorites like the Green Turtle and Blue Ox. Beach coolers, umbrellas, t-shirts and other beach packages will also be up for grabs.
The FIBP plans to raffle off surf fishing rods and a buoy signed by the crew, among other things. High Stakes have set a recommended $15 donation at the door, although it is not a mandatory payment. Patrons can enjoy a cheese steak and two mugs of beer for just $5 at the benefit. Proceeds from the event will go to the FIBP, and additional donations are always welcome.
The idea for the benefit came about from everyone putting their heads together. Vanderhook, who DJ’s at local scenes during the night, mulled over the idea of a benefit with DeLuca and High Stakes bar manager Declan McNamee while providing entertainment there one evening. “This is the first time the beach patrol has ever really done something with a business on this type of scale,” said Vanderhook. “We’ve asked for donations in the past, but this is really something great to work with their restaurant for something like this.”
He will return to the turntable, providing entertainment for the evening of the event.
Ferry, now in his fifth year as FIBP captain, is amazed at the support the town and community has shown the department. “Each year,” he said, “we’ve gotten better and stronger. We have a high return rate, and our guards are becoming more and more confident. I believe the town, the townspeople and businesses see that on a daily basis. Our guards do their jobs very well and take their jobs seriously. We receive compliments all the time, and this benefit is just another way people are willing to help our cause. As long as we do what we do to our full potential, things just fall into place.”
Out of five summer competitions, this year, Ferry and his crew have won four, including a competition this past Monday in Bethany Beach, where they scored three first-place, two second-place and one third-place finish in the six-event competition to be named victors. This week, the ladies of the patrol participated in a New Jersey competition, as well.
“I’m extremely happy for our guards,” Ferry added, “and I can’t thank the people enough who support us, starting with the town.” Each year, the town throws an annual bonfire for the FIBP, raising charitable donations for the program. “We’ve developed into an impressive group of people, and I think we have a great shot at capturing first in the 4 x 100,” he added. The team finished a very close second at last year’s nationals in the relay after a 45-minute deliberation from the judges. The year prior, they managed to nab first place.
DeLuca has enjoyed the success of the first season and is eager to extend a hand to the patrol. “Everyone knows the lifeguards and locals by name,” he said. “When people walk into High Stakes, they’re welcomed by familiar faces at the bar, and they’re going to know the other people who come in. This event will give people the chance to come out and meet the best people in our community.”
“The town’s behind us 100 percent,” said Vanderhook, “and that’s a great feeling.” For more information about High Stakes Bar and Grill and the Beef and Beer benefit this Sunday, Aug. 3 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., visit www.myspace.com/phillysfinestde or call (302) 537-6971.