Ocean stars light up for Jimmy Miller Benefiesta [PHOTOS]

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Ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, Navy SEAL, Act of Valor star Rorke Denver and big wave rider Alex Gray formed the honorary host committee for the first annual Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (JMMF) Benefiesta. The event held June 16 at the Manhattan Beach Strand home of Rob DeSantis raised over $130,000 for the foundation.

USMC Major Gary Zegley, in thanking the guests, told them, “Many non-profits come to help the Wounded Warriors, but there is no program that has been as effective and helped more Marines regain confidence and a zest for living than the JMMF Ocean Therapy Program. For four years, JMMF has been there for our Marines. There is no question, this program works.”

Oscar and Grammy winning singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham, whose credits include the sound track for “Crazy Heart,” performed. Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece donated a stand-up paddle board lesson and former AVP announcer Chris McGee conduction a “fund-a Marine, veteran or child” auction.

“The event was a tremendous success and we’re so appreciative of the support,” said JMMF president Jeff Miller.

“The Benefiesta is a game changer for all of us. We will be able to offer more services to the children in our community and expand our programs for Marines and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries, (TBI). For the past 7 years, our board members, Kevin Barry, Chris Brown, Steve Chabre, Andy Dellenbach, Mark Gerold, Tom Houston, David Peters, Charlotte and Russ Lesser, Carly Rogers and my parents, Jim and Nancy Miller have guided the vision of how to share Jimmy’s passion for teaching surfing and love of the ocean. The Benefiesta gave us a chance to share this vision with our community and beyond.”

Sponsors included Aon, Body Glove, The Capital Group, Dietz Brothers Music, Fresh Brothers Pizza, House at the Beach, Kai, Made by Meg, Murphy Goode Winery, Peligroso, Rothner Consulting LLC, Silvio’s, Simmzy’s, Skechers, Trilogy Spa, Twentieth Century Fox, Water Inc. and Zico.

For a full list of sponsors and donors and complete event wrap-up, to find out more about JMMF volunteer opportunities, please visit: jimmymillerfoundation.org.

The JMMF Ocean Therapy Program combines surfing and group therapy to help abused and at-risk children from local centers in Southern California. JMMF also provides Ocean Therapy to the wounded, and ill Marines based at the Wounded Warriors Battalion West in Camp Pendleton and returning veterans at the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital. The Foundation was created to honor Jimmy Miller, a Los Angeles County Lifeguard, waterman, writer and world traveler who started Camp Surf, the “official surf camp of Manhattan Beach.”

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