OCEAN BAY PARKBy Barbara Baby PlacillaThe Pines is not the only community that has an “invasion.” Ocean Bay Park has its own annual invasion, too. Unlike the Pines’ annual July 4th event of creatively dressed partiers arriving by flotilla, the OBP invasion lasts a week. It starts in late July when members of the Byrnes/Donohue/ Kavanaugh/ Yevola (I am sure there are some surnames I omitted) clan come out in force. It also coincides with the mid-summer flight of Robbie across the pond to Cornwall to visit “Jackie the Mum.” Family patriarch Tom Byrnes told me that this year there were only about 85-90 family members, which is down from the usual 130-140. Tom told me that this annual reunion of kids, who now have kids and grandkids of their own, and who all grew up together in Woodhaven, has been happening for more than 20 years.Ocean Beach also gets invaded this time of year – by the much-anticipated arrival of the OBP contingency to the annual Ocean Beach Community Fund Gala. This year’s event was held on Saturday, Aug. 1, and the theme was “Dreams of Windswept.” The Sandman and his numbered sheep gathered at a pre-gala party hosted by Norman Raglin and Bernie Weil at their home on Ontario. And then it was off to Ocean Beach to make their grand entrance at the Ocean Beach Community House.The call went out from OBP Association President Steven Jaffe for a “few good men.” He asked for volunteers to help clean up the beach and area around the dunes, on Monday, Aug. 3. The call was answered by Anthony and Melody Rose Catanese, Ken Klein, Harris Jaffe, Bud and Wendi Kroll, David and Amy Kemp, Bob Vaskas, Jim Price, Ric Anderson, Bartley Horon, and Gerry Breglia, who all joined Steve for this annual event. They collected 11 bags of garbage and debris from the beach, stairs and dune area; repaired dune fence; and had a few laughs on the way. As Steve told his crew: “You could have spent your morning doing something else but instead decided to give back to our community. One day when I grow up, I hope to be like you all.” I know that the kids got a free scoop of ice cream donated by Schooner Inn’s M&M’s Ice Cream. Not sure what the adults got other than sore muscles!I wish that everyone felt the need to give back to our community, specifically the person(s) who stole the flags from the Ocean Bay Park Fire Department. Whoever did this, obviously, does not have any respect for our country’s flag and our volunteer firefighters or they would not have taken the American flag and the MIA-POW flag. Thank you to Mike Greco who donated a new American flag and to Niza Shor-Egan who donated a replacement MIA-POW flag. Both are now flying outside the firehouse.Seems like August is the time for family reunions when people are anxious to get together while the weather is great and get in some sun, sand and surf. My sister, Patti, and her husband, Ray Lofreddo, had a mini vacation with us. And for the first time it did not rain! Seems every time Ray comes to visit (usually when he house/cat sits for us when we go away) it’s cold and it rains. This time the weather was fantastic and the beach was packed every day. The only people braving the water were the surfers and those people who don’t understand how strong the rip tide can be and went in any way. Catching as many waves as they could were our local “surf gang” Sofia and Nick Borges, Juliana and Kai Lesser, Melody Rose and Anthony Catanese and Harrison Jaffe. These young people are some of the next generation of Ocean Bay Park community leaders and I look forward to seeing them grow up and keep this town going.Another family reunion took place on Ocean Bay Boulevard at Angelo Sakonas’ house. Visiting for two weeks from San Francisco are his 4-year old grandson, Dylan, and parents Cory and Sarah Hewitt. They were joined by Cory’s sister, Kelly Borges, and her husband Frank; cousins Nick and Sofia; and other Hewitt cousins and friends, the Rizzutos. Angelo is teaching Dylan to fish and I hope that he is as successful as his Papoo is when it comes to reeling in those striped bass!Congratulations to DD and KK (Diane Sweeney and Ken Klein) who just celebrated 25 years together. Helping them celebrate were Diane’s daughters, her grandchildren and her great-grandchild. Is purple the secret to their happiness?Happy belated birthday to Ric Anderson.The runners have been out in force and pounding the pavement every morning for the past several weeks. You know they are serious runners and not just joggers. They all have great bodies and even better concentration and were out on even the hottest days as they go over the course and get ready for the race. The 9th Annual Run for Rose 5K race is being held on Sunday, August 9, as we go to press, so I will report on it in our next column. I want to say good luck to the McNamees who are running as a family. I’ll let you know how Lisa Black McNamee, her husband Sean, his daughter, Melissa McNamee, and his nephew and wife, Jason and Geriann McNamee fare.SAVE THE DATE: Aug. 29, at the OBP firehouse. Wine & Cheese Travel Lecture with Emmy Award-winning travel editor and writer, Peter Greenberg. Peter is currently in Ecuador where he is filming another in his “Royal Tour” specials. His lectures are both informative and entertaining.OBP news tips can be left for Barbara at [email protected].