BETHANY BEACH, Del. Sept. 7, 2013 —The first thing you notice is the size of the dog, a mantled, harlequin Great Dane, who comes to the waist of the good looking young man with her. He tells you her name is Page and that she is two-years old. At about 130 pounds, Page is pure muscle and sweetness, perfectly trained as a service dog for her escort.
With Page by his side, Jeremy Muncert of Clayton, N. C. can go anywhere he wants to, and this weekend he is accompanied by his mother and father for this beach getaway to what had been dubbed “Operation Seas the Day” of Warrior Beach Week that ends on Sunday, Sept. 8. Jeremy is as good looking as Page is, tall and muscular, with close cropped hair and eyes that seem to have trouble focusing. It takes awhile before you notice that within that carefully cut hair, paths of neat scars show where numerous surgeries were performed.
For all the credit Jeremy gives doctors and nurses and surgeons and rehabilitation therapists, the greatest praise goes to Page when he says “She got me and back to walking again” since much of his vision has been lost.
Jeremy and his parents, Jeffery and Susan Muncert, are one of the twenty-five families of Wounded Warriors selected for this relaxation time at Bethany Beach. Talking of Jeremy’s return home, his dad said “It’s changed our lives forever,” to which his mom adds, “but all for the better.”
This year’s R&R event is the first time the quiet beach town of Bethany has attempted such an event, but as all the merchants and citizens agree, “Not the last time!”
The families come from all over the United States, eager to share with others the long and arduous trips the Warriors have made, some who appear close to normal and others with “miles to go before they sleep,” as Robert Frost would put it.
One young man at a restaurant last night stood up to his full height of 6’7” tall, his right leg ending in one of the new type metallic “blade runner” prosthetic feet made popular by several athletes. He cautiously pulled his elastic top exercise pants down on one side to show that the prosthetic leg goes “all the way to the waist – my hip was gone too.”
He was injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and proudly says he “has had 76 surgeries so far and more to come.” Yet his smile and personality light up the room as he moved from table to table, chatting with all who were interested in the gentle giant.
Twenty-five local families agreed to give up their homes for a weekend to accommodate the visitors, while local businesses presented each with a large wicker basket of groceries (Giant Foods), free bike rentals and other gifts as well. All meals at restaurants, etc. were free to the group of Warriors and their families and the appreciative guests seemed overwhelmed by the gratitude shown by the local people.
Jeremy, like many other attendees, feels that events like this help Wounded Warriors in all stages of their rehabilitation to get together, exchange ideas and experiences, which are an invaluable part of the healing process.
Lifting her massive head from the big flowered baby blanket on the floor of the restaurant where she is patiently waiting for Jeremy, Page manages a very large yawn and then snuggles down again, as Jeremy pats her head.
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