Ocean City welcomes veteran, family for some R&R

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Master Sergeant Michael Sears, surrounded by his family, is a reservist with the 177th Fighter Wing  and works for the Department of Homeland Security as an explosive specialist. Master Sergeant Michael Sears, surrounded by his family, is a reservist with the 177th Fighter Wing and works for the Department of Homeland Security as an explosive specialist. Ocean City’s American Legion Post 524 will again pay tribute to a returning military veteran when it welcomes Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Sears and his family on Sunday June 22 with an all-expense paid week in America’s Greatest Family Resort.

The Veterans Rest and Relaxation Program began last year when Post 524 invited five military veterans and their families to enjoy the city’s hospitality. Local citizens and merchants join together to offer the visitors a donated condominium and a variety of dinners and entertainment as a thank you for their service.

Sears is an explosive ordnance disposal operator who was born in Atlantic City and joined the Marines following high school graduation. He served as an infantryman for four years, including one combat tour to Somalia, and reached the rank of sergeant. During those years, Sears joined a special operations team known as Tactical Recovery of Aircraft Personnel. Honorably discharging from the Marine Corps, Master Sgt. Sears joined his current unit, the 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City.

In addition, Sears deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where in combat, he performed lifesaving skills on a wounded coalition soldier, saving his life, while risking his own under heavy enemy fire. During these combat tours Sears and his team defused more than 50 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and executed over 100 combat missions.

Master Sgt. Mike Sears, Silver Star Recipient  Master Sgt. Mike Sears, Silver Star Recipient “For his heroic and selfless actions in combat Master Sergeant Sears has been awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart and will appear on the David Letterman Show on Monday June 23,” reads a statement from Post 524.

Former residents of Galloway Township, Sears and his wife Jennifer live in Beaver, Pa. with their three children; Michael age 10, Alexis age 8 and Mikaela age 6. Sears works for the Department of Homeland Security in Pittsburgh.

Vet R & R Committee Chairman Steve Cole has once again gathered together local merchants and private citizens to present the family with the use of a donated condominium, restaurant gift certificates and passes to entertainment.

“Military family members are very important to our project,” said Cole, “because the families always share in the sacrifice of deployed service members.”

The Sears family will be arriving in Ocean City at 3 p.m. on Sunday led by a police and fire escort from the Welcome Center. Joining the entourage will be the American Legion Riders, a precision motorcycle group of veterans. The public is invited to meet and greet the Sears family at American Legion Post 524, 3304 Bay Ave.

A Welcome Basket from the Chamber of Commerce will be presented to the family at American Legion Post 524. Included are gift cards from Yesterday's and The Windjammer Restaurant. Acme Markets, ShopRite, Sack-O-Subs, Yanni’s and The Ocean City Coffee Company donated additional gift cards. Also included are a tub of Johnson’s Popcorn, Mallon’s Sticky Buns, linens from G&L Linens, and a tour of the Cape May County Zoo.

Later in the week, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian will present the family with the Keys to the City as he presents a Mayoral Proclamation. A dinner in their family’s honor will take place at Post 524 on Wednesday, June 26.

 

(This article was submitted by Doug Otto of the American Legion Morvay-Miley Post 525)


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