For the fifth time this season, Ocean City’s American Legion Post 524 will pay tribute to the sacrifices made by a returning veteran and his family with an “all expenses paid” week in America’s Greatest Family Resort.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the post’s popular Vet Rest and Relaxation Program
will welcome National Guard Captain Jon Santana, his wife, Kelly, and their two
children, Rafael and Isabella, with a police/fire and motorcycle escort into
the city, followed by a reception at the post headquarters on Bay Avenue.
Capt. Santana, a 14-year Guardsman, recently completed his tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he commanded a field tank crew. Returning to his family in Highland, N.Y., he will begin a civilian job with Verizon, following his Jersey Shore vacation.
Vet R & R Committee Chairman Steve Cole has once again gathered together local merchants and private citizens to present the Santanas with the use of a donated condominium, restaurant gift certificates and passes to entertainment.
“Military family members are very important to our project,” said Cole, “because the families always share in the sacrifice of deployed service members.”
Mrs. Santana is a career Spanish teacher, who also serves as a Family Readiness Group Leader for her husband’s National Guard unit. Ten-year old Rafael loves science and superheroes, while his six-year old sister, Isabella, favors animals and dressing-up as a princess.
Post 524’s R & R Program is in it’s second year of honoring returning service personnel with the generous help of the Ocean City business community. Cole said one more veteran family will be treated to a vacation before the program ends for the 2013 season in October.
Saturday’s festivities will begin at The Ocean City Welcome Center on the Ninth Street Causeway at about 9 a.m., when Post Commander Bob Marzulli will greet the family, along with Cape May County Freeholders Marie Hayes and Gerry Thornton. Later in the week, Mayor Jay Gillian will present the Santana’s with a key to the city, during a ceremony at City Hall.
The Post will be announcing plans for the final veteran vacation early next month.
— News release from Doug Otto for the American Legion