Team Red, White and Blue Hosts Hundreds at Annual Surf Camp in Huntington Beach
COSTA MESA, Calif., September 7, 2016 – Students and graduates of Vanguard University’s Veterans Center will take part in the annual Waves of Valor Surf Camp sponsored by Team Red, White and Blue, a national organization started by Vets for Vets in partnership with the West Los Angeles VA, Loma Linda VA, and the Long Beach VA. The event will take place on Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m. to 12 noon in Huntington Beach.
Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) exists to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to people in their community—specifically through physical and social activity. The headquarters of the organization reside in Tampa, Florida, but the local Orange County chapter holds this annual surf camp event, bringing together men and women in treatment at the VA. Volunteer professional and amateur surfers and community members attend the annual event, with a desire to give back to veterans.
“Between my numerous deployments in support of the global war on terrorism, I continuously returned to Orange County and I would paddle out and sit out in the ocean with my civilian friends and just enjoy being home,” said Christoper Merkle, chapter captain of Team RWB Orange County, and graduate of Vanguard University’s Class of 2016. “The healing powers on the water made everything right—surfing is the farthest thing from Iraq that I could think of.”
After serving 14 years in the U.S. Marines, Merkle attempted to return to civilian life, when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) set in. He enrolled at Vanguard University, and graduated with honors in May 2016, speaking at the Vanguard University Veterans Center’s Challenge Coin Ceremony on his experience in the war and on his journey to receive his degree from the Orange County University.
Featured in The Huffington Post, and other notable news sources, the Waves of Valor surf camp in Orange County hosts over 40 veterans and over 200 volunteers, teaching veterans how to surf, stay engaged, and work through the healing process of war trauma. Huntington Beach mayor, police and fire departments all back the efforts of Team RWB—even Olympic medal winners, politicians, movie and television stars have come out in years past to show their support.
Vanguard University’s Veterans Center, where Merkle was once a student, works to send volunteers to participate in Waves of Valor. The center focuses on engaging student veterans in their pursuit of academic and personal success, providing specialized resources such as the campus counseling center, disability services, tutoring center, writing center and career center. Vanguard University is also part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, a GI Education Enhancement Program that provides an agreement between Vanguard and the Veterans Administration (VA).
To register and attend the Waves of Valor event, visit www.wavesofvalor.com.
For more information on Vanguard University’s Veterans Center, visit www.vanguard.edu/veterans.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Irving
About Vanguard University
Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard #13 in the Regional Colleges (West) category, #10 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #19 for economic diversity. The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2016 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit www.vanguard.edu