Lola’s will help kick off Long Beach’s most celebrated show of support for wounded veterans this weekend.
The restaurant, at West Park Avenue and Magnolia Boulevard, will host the first fundraiser for the fourth annual Waterfront Warriors program from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 7.
“It’s a really nice time, and always a really big fundraiser,” said City Council member John McLaughlin, the founder of the program in which wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, M.D., and their families spend a week in Long Beach each summer.
Following a 5K Run and Welcome Parade on July 22, residents and non-residents are invited to meet the soldiers and their families at a barbecue organized by and held at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School on West Broadway. (Free for residents and $5 for non-residents.)
McLaughlin said the annual program is a way for the city to give back to those who fought for our country and also showcase what really makes Long Beach a great place.
“We try to keep them on the beach as much as possible so they get a feel for the beach and our city,” McLaughlin said.
Funded through private donations, Waterfront Warriors provides injured soldiers with a day of sightseeing in Manhattan, a dinner at one of Long Beach’s restaurants, lessons at surf school and plenty of time to relax seaside.
Many of the soldiers and their families will , while some of the more severely injured will stay in donated rooms at the Allegria Hotel.
“Sometimes residents don’t stay and sometimes they do,” McLaughlin said. “It is great if they do because they get a relationship with a family from Long Beach.”