by Ryan McDonald
Rough waters and overhead surf didn’t stop a group of military veterans from throwing themselves into the waves of El Porto this week, thanks to the Jimmy Miller Foundation and an assist from the Los Angeles Kings.
The foundation hosted veterans from the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital Groups Monday for a morning of ocean therapy. Instructors from Camp Surf provided tips on technique and kept the vets safe, while a pre-surf yoga session from Yoga Glo got everyone warmed up.
The foundation, named for a beloved local lifeguard and surf instructor who lost his life to mental illness in 2004, is devoted to ocean therapy. It has been a pioneer in using surfing to assist veterans and active-duty soldiers deal with the rigors of combat and helping them prepare to return to civilian life. The foundation hosts events throughout the year in the South Bay and at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
“The idea that the ocean could heal us was not really talked about at the time,” said Kris Primacio, ocean therapy coordinator for the foundation. “Thirteen years later, we are still thriving.”