Surfers' spirit of community and volunteerism should inspire us all

BIGGER AND BETTER: Mike Genereux and a group of surfers rebuild the Talofofo Bay surfer cabana. The original cabana was recently burned down by people and for reasons unknown. Post file photo

It was a disappointing moment when the surfers’ cabana in Talofofo Bay was burned down – apparently by vandals – a few weeks ago.

“It looked like they were trying to barbecue in the middle of the shack,” Mike Genereux, a woodworker and owner of the ifil wood art shop across from Jeff’s Pirates Cove in Talofofo, told The Guam Daily Post last week. He had built the shack, with the help of some friends, a little over a year ago.

What rose from the charred remains was the sense of community and volunteerism among the surfer community. Surfers literally picked up the burnt pieces, tore down the unstable shell that was left, and rebuilt the surfers’ shelter, which also happens to be a favorite spot for tourists to take snapshots.

Humble, spirited surfers set example for us to follow

Genereux prefabricated much of the structure at his shop and, last week Saturday, put everything on his son’s trailer and brought it to Talofofo Bay. With the help of about a half-dozen fellow surfers, the crew nailed and screwed the pieces together. They had the cabana built and decorated by Sunday.

Some of the volunteers just came to help and didn’t even want to be named. 

“This time, I’m gonna put up a sign that says ‘No burning,’” Genereux said, laughing, as other surfers added some choice words to what should be on the sign.

The first surfers’ shelter was a little blue wooden structure that non-surfing villagers would also use to enjoy the view and the ocean breeze. And tourists would take advantage of the smooth wooden path straddling the rocks to walk out to the cabana and pose for photos with the blue sky and bluer ocean as their background.

Many other places on Guam could use sprucing up

The new surfers’ cabana is slightly larger – thanks to the donation of 2-by-6 boards from Jeff Pleadwell of Jeff’s Pirates Cove.

Though the rebuilding was quick, the surfers can only hope the new structure will last.

“Hopefully, in the future, everyone will enjoy it, and more so respect it, and take care of it,” Genereux said. 

There are many other locations on Guam, including school bus shelters and public playgrounds that could use some sprucing up with the help of volunteers’ time and materials.

Who hope the surfers’ action will inspire more volunteers to do other good deeds.

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