It took a bit of convincing to get Sandy to accept the honor of Volunteer of the Month, as he prefers to fly under the radar, humbly sharing the stoke of the ocean with our participants. That said, his generous and giving spirit truly deserved to be shared and honored with our community. After finally convincing him this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, Sandy decided to share his story with us:

It was a year ago when I first asked if I could help. I had just returned from many months working in the South Pacific, where I spend half my time. Otherwise you’d see me at every event. I’ve done various things with Wounded Warrior for years, back in DC and elsewhere,  and heard about AccesSurf through the coconut wireless, so it was a natural progression.
No time to write a book but there’s that much to say about everything AccesSurf does. I’m just such a very small part of that process. Personally I don’t know why I’m still on earth, drowned surfing twice over the past 50+ years but for some reason the Big Guy in the sky felt it wasn’t my time so I came back, with the help of others obviously. First time was huge Honolua Bay on Maui, early 70’s. Made a promise to BG then that I’d pay Him back so it started there. Been several times since then that I should’a been pau but again just wasn’t my time. Almost checked out again Dec 2001, came close to not making it but LA County guards worked their magic, with BG’s help of course. A little more hospital stuff to reflect and renew my vows upstairs. Some interesting moments in Iraq & again Afghanistan but still, not my time. I’ve done my best to live up to my promises. What I’ve felt over the years is that I want to constantly pay it forward, whenever and wherever I can.  AccesSurf allows me and all of us to do that. There’s a neat niche for everyone, regardless of their skill sets. Sometimes it may not seem like it to the casual observer but this great big wonderful hui (gathering) pulls it all together each and every time with a coordinated team effort! Our rewards are manifested in the smiles of not just our participants, but their families and caregivers as well. Even if we cannot see their smiles on the outside, there’s something that assures me that inwardly their spirit has benefited from their time with us. We all look different on the outside but inside I like to think we’re all quite similar. We all have a heart and spirit and desire. Some of us are fortunate to have the body to do what we want to do. Others not so but AccesSurf affords them the opportunity to come play for the day, share the stoke and feel the Aloha.
At 65 I’m lucky to again be living in Hawai’i; still on Active Duty in the Army (since ’78); still surfing; and most importantly still being able to help my extended ‘Ohana and hui in our beloved Mother Ocean.”