On the beach we have a multitude of special events, many of which the general public is never aware. One of the most interesting one is a small one we’ve been helping to support for a couple of years.

The TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) 24 Hour Challenge Fundraiser event is something that any sane person would avoid like the plague. Unfortunately many of our lifeguards are not “sane”. Austin Kirwin is one of our most exceptional employees. He’s one of our year round Supervisor/Peace Officer/EMT crew, an amazing athlete, and is a member of the Air Force National Guard, based at Ellington Field. His specialty is that of a TACP, so is part of a unique brotherhood.

For those like me who didn’t know, an Air Force TACP is the liaison between the Army and Air Force and is deployed with Army groups to advise ground commanders on the best use of air power, maintain communications, and provide terminal guidance for close air support.

The TACP Association is a non-profit organization that serves as a support structure for the TACP Community. Members consist of current and former TACPs, their families and the people who support the TACP mission. They have no paid staff and 100% of their budget goes towards the benefit of their community and mission, which is to “Remember the fallen, honor the living, and aid brothers in need”. The Association has provided support of several TACPs who were wounded in action and have assisted the families of TACPs killed in action. They strive to relieve the financial pressure of the members and families during tragedies so that healing and mourning may occur.

The 24 Hour Challenge Fundraiser will be based in our office at Stewart Beach starting at noon on March 23rd and continuing all the way to noon on the 24th. They will work in a team and there must be at least one person running at all times during the challenge. The cumulative miles of each team will be scored. There is also a category for ultra runners, which adds up the miles of two person teams.

This all sounds like good fun until you look at some stats. Nationwide they had 5,153 runners and they completed a total of 1,222.4 miles per each of 333 teams in four countries, for a total of 37,037.7 miles. That means they ran the equivalent of 1.5 times the circumference of the earth. The 8 Ultra teams ran 980.6 miles and averaged 61.3 miles per runner.

So if you see some really fit, tired, hard core men and women running down the beach the morning of the 24th, give our hometown Beach Patrol hero Austin a shout. They’ll have a setup on the SW corner of the pavilion and you can sign up to run whatever distance you want. Your miles count.

The event may be small compared to some others, but it gives a glimpse into the lives of some really dedicated men and women who are not only amazing athletes and humanitarians, but are true patriots.