On Thursday, October 22, viewers tuned-in to COA’s festive virtual celebration, “The Ocean is Calling.” The event featured true-blue friends from COA’s rich history in celebration of 35 Years of Beach Sweeps. Presenting sponsor Tito’s Handmade Vodka kicked-off the 21+ evening by making a toast with the event’s signature cocktail, The American Mule, as viewers settled-in with their own cocktails to hear the story of COA's origin through the comfort of their own viewing screens.
The evening's Emcee was Tim McLoone, an early supporter of COA, founder of Holiday Express, restaurateur, and track star (to name a few of his many talents). Tim highlighted the connection between his restaurant business and a healthy, thriving ocean, and said of COA’s Executive Director during the poor state of local water quality in the 1980s, “Cindy just dug in and decided she was going to do something about it with all of her friends and supporters."
The Ocean is Calling event featured an online silent auction with items donated from generous friends of the ocean. Auction items included a private cocktail cruise from Chick Cunningham of Carriage House Marina and Doug Douty of Lusty Lobster; as well a Private Chef-Led Artisanal Pizza Making Extravaganza in the home of COA Board Member Valerie Montecalvo. Other exclusive auction experiences included a private dinner in the home of world renowned Chef David Burke (wine pairings alone valued at $2000), exquisite art, an electric bike, a private whale watching tour, dog training lessons, family portraits, holiday decor, and more! The auction raised over $16,000 with the event overall raising over $77,000.
Viewers heard from Beach Captains: Crystal DeCaro, Ortley Beach Captain with her pet mini pig Hamlette; and Tyler Thompson, Leonardo Beach Captain.
The evening honored First Lady Tammy Murphy for her Climate Change Education Initiatives, including successfully making New Jersey the first state in the nation to incorporate climate change education across its K-12 learning standards, as well as urging reduction of single use plastics.
Board Member and Event Co-Chair Bonnie Torcivia thanked donors and supporters and introduced Board President Leo Gasienica and his wife Kathleen, also long-time beach captains. Captain Bill Hudec shared his experiences sailing around the world and the importance of a clean ocean. He noted the increase of marine life thriving along the New Jersey Coast since COA was founded.
The evening concluded with artists Lucy Kalian and Stella Ryan presenting the event’s featured artwork, a mermaid crafted from litter found during the Beach Sweeps, and Marina Owner Chick Cunningham with fish monger Doug Douty (Lusty Lobster) celebrating a clean ocean.
Thanks to the Virtual Event Committee: Co-Chairs Bonnie Torcivia and Kathleen Gasienica; Lydia Bagarozza, Andrea Bonfiglio, Carrie Christensen, Manda Gorsegner, Ann Jordan, Etta Kelly, B. Mahon, Barbara Murphy, Mary Thompson
Waves of Thanks to Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Tito's Handmade Vodka; Siren Song: Liz and Charlie Komar; Blue Whale: Bonnie Torcivia, The McManus Family, Lucy Kalian, Tim and Jane Orr, Robbyn and Joe O'Neill, Shorepoint Distributors; Dolphin: OceanFirst Foundation, Trudy and Charlie Parton, Tommy's Tavern & Tap, Nancy and Tom Gravina; Striper: Thompson Memorial Home, Litwin and Provence, Peeka and Art Tildesley, Jill Kerwick and Artie Kontos, Mary-Beth and Jerry Radke, and Geri Skirkanich
35 Years of Beach Sweeps with their party packs!