About.com Guide 7/14/2011

By Kim Wilson, About.com Guide

When New Jersey teen Casey Loundy set her sights on supporting the troops, she wasn't joking. Thanks to her, active duty servicemembers and their families can now enjoy many NJ beaches at no cost. But that's not all. What makes this an even sweeter deal is that many boardwalk businesses decided to demonstrate their support for the troops by offering military discounts of their own.

Take for example, Steve Whalen, owner of Lucky Leo's Amusements in Seaside Heights, NJ. He shows his appreciation for America's military by giving active duty servicemembers and veterans $5 bills to spend in his arcade.

High School Project Becomes Law
For her senior project, Casey embarked upon a mission to change New Jersey law so that beach communities could offer military discounts or free admission to active duty servicemembers and their families.

Area lawmakers supported Casey and sponsored a bill which gave towns the option to offer military discounts or free admission--a bill which Gov. Chris Christie signed into law. Prior to this law, shore communities could only offer reduced prices on beach admission to persons aged 65 and older or individuals with disabilities.

Participating Communities
The new law doesn't require towns to extend military discounts, but rather gives them the option to do so. To view a list of all participating communities, please visit Casey's Web site, Free Military Beaches.

Carrying On Her Grandfather's Legacy
During her junior year in high school, Casey wrote a report about her grandfather's military service, which set the foundation for her Free Military Beaches project. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history.


In WWII, Casey's late grandfather, Sid Loundy served in the Army. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was wounded and captured as a POW.

After his release he returned to the states and settled in Seaside Heights, NJ where he opened a restaurant and boarding house. To show his thanks and appreciation for the troops and their families Sid offered military discounts and when necessary, free meals and a free place to stay.

Although I can't be certain, I imagine that decades ago Mr. Loundy never dreamed that the kindness he bestowed upon the troops would someday inspire his granddaughter to honor his memory by carrying on his legacy of giving back to the military community--and similar to yesteryear, Casey's actions and accomplishments are recognized and very much appreciated.

Thanking Casey
If you'd like to send Casey a quick note of thanks and appreciation you may do so here.