Sgt. Manzi helping a veteran surf for the first time
Saturday morning will be a special day for surfing on Folly Beach. Not only is there a "Paddle Out" for the nine victims of the Charleston shootings, but Warrior Surf Foundation will be hosting its first warrior surf clinic at 3rd Street on Folly Beach. Over 25 wounded veterans will be on the beach to experience the healing power of surfing, many for the first time.
Many of you read the inspiring story of Marine Sgt. Andy Manzi, a veteran who served two tours in the Iraq war. Andy returned from war with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and through surfing, finally found relief and healing from the debilitating symptoms. Andy's incredible recovery was the impetus for a nonprofit aimed at helping other wounded veterans, with both mental and physical wounds, to find fun, confidence, and healing through surfing. "We will be providing clinics to our veterans that can be anywhere from four to eight weeks. There will be a therapist involved and the sessions will be recurring to provide the best therapy for our veterans. We need help in raising money for instructors, the therapist, special equipment, insurance, and possible housing for vets and their families," Andy explains.
Josh Wilson, owner of Charleston Surf Lessons, brings 32 years of surfing, time on the pro surfing tour, as well as 13 years of surf coaching to the table in his role with Warrior Surf Foundation, "I've coached at an elite level for competitive surfers for the US, as well as beginners and anything in between. Over the years, I've worked with amputees, autism, no hearing, and multiple other physical and mental handicaps. My role will be to help lead these men and woman in the right direction in the water, as well as spreading the word in the surf industry nationwide. But at the end of the day, I'm just a big fan and cheerleader for our warriors."
L-R: Josh Wilson, Tyler Crowder (and son!), and Andy Manzi, founders of Warrior Surf Foundation
Tyler Crowder, along with his wife, Sarah Ann, will be directing fundraising and public relations for the nonprofit, while Andy Manzi will have a very hands-on role, building camaraderie in and out of the water with his brothers and sisters in arms and teaching them to surf.
Come out to 3rd Street on Folly Beach this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to get a taste of how Charleston handles tragedy and loss: with love. For more information about Warrior Surf Foundation or to donate, click here.