Sea Isle City restaurant owner Carmen Conti, a lifeguard in the 1940s, will be honored during a Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Alumni Association Hall of Fame dinner. (Image courtesy John McCann)


There is no need to leave town to find interesting things to do. Sea Isle City will feature three memorable events over the weekend – a beach patrol alumni hall of fame dinner, a tree dedication for a respected member of the community and a “Blessing of the Animals.”

“During a time when many events have been canceled. It is obvious that many of sea isles organizations are striving to host any even they can and still practice social distancing,” said Sea Isle City Public Information Officer Katherine Custer.

On Saturday night, the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Alumni Association will host its annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at 4 p.m. at Carmen’s Dockside Restaurant, an open-air eatery, at 343 43rd Place.

Four former longtime lifeguards who served during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are Larry Kozakowski, of Philadelphia, Jimmy Gibbons, of Egg Harbor Township, Pat Hoban, of Philadelphia, and Jerry Lombard lives in Philadelphia and Avalon. Carmen Conti, an owner of Carmen’s, who was a lifeguard in the 1940s will receive a plaque.

John McCann, president of the Beach Patrol Alumni Association, explained why the Hall of Fame is such an important event.

“The job of a lifeguard is extremely intense and very, very, important. The proof is in the pudding. When the lifeguards aren’t on duty, there is a drowning somewhere in South Jersey,” McCann noted. “That proves the great job the lifeguards do when they are on duty.”

He added that Carmen Conti, owner of Carmen’s, will be honored.

“We will present Carmen Conti with a nice plaque,” McCann said. “He also served during World War II. He was one of the great volunteers.”

McCann explained that the Hall of Fame dinner was started 20 years ago by his brother Tom McCann and another former lifeguard.

And on Sunday, at noon, there will be a tree dedication at the Sea Isle City Library, 4800 Central Avenue in honor of longtime community volunteer Marlene McHale, who was one of the founders of the Sea Isle City Garden Club.

Marlene McHale, left, is pictured at the Garden Club’s flower sale in 2018 along with members Bill Quinn, Kathy Wilson, Chickie Flora and Donna Hadfield. (Photo courtesy of Sea Isle City)

During the ceremony, there will be songs from the choir of children, an unveiling of the plaque and remarks from people who knew Marlene McHale well.

Marlene McHale was one of the driving forces, one of the handful of people who created the Garden Club many years ago.

Mike McHale, the former Sea Isle mayor and Marlene’s husband, commented earlier this month about his wife’s love of the Garden Club, “She was so dedicated to the Garden Club. She had monthly meetings from September to May and loved scheduling the speakers,” McHale said. “She was good at it and she would follow up and get creative people to talk. It turned out to be mostly women and they socialized together and had food. They had a good time together.”

Members of Garden Club, Environmental Commission and Historical Society will gather to dedicate two trees in McHale’s honor. McHale passed away in March of complications from ALS at the age of 75.

Also, on Sunday at noon in the parking lot of Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 44th Street and Central Avenue, members of the public will gather for a “Blessing of the Animals.”

The blessings will be led by new parish pastor Father Perry Cherubini in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day.

People may bring their cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, fish, and other animals to receive a blessing. Those who are not able to bring their pet may bring a picture of an animal they love — or a photo of an endangered species in the wild.

“This is a concept supported by the new pastor of St. Joseph Church. He seems eager to spiritually embrace members of the parish and Sea Isle City,” Custer said of the blessing of the animals. “It is a new event here and I am anticipating that it will be a nice turnout and it should be a nice thing.”

Father Perry Cherubini is introducing a new event to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, as the new pastor – the “blessing of the animals” this Sunday.