Operation Amped, a group that teaches disabled veterans how to surf, planned a Veterans Day event at Cardiff State Beach in California on Tuesday.
However, an unidentified state park ranger told the Operation Amped volunteers that they would need a permit to teach the vets.
A picture of the incident was posted on Instagram by Joel Tudor, a volunteer, who wrote: "They would need a permit to be at Cardiff due to a public post on Facebook--- the post was made so that people could volunteer time and take a vet for a slide!"
Tudor told Fox 5 San Diego that veterans and volunteers were ordered to leave the beach and take their American flags with them.
“It’s the one day that we give them, that the country gives them, nationwide to celebrate and feel good about their time served, and that guy couldn’t take five minutes of his time to turn the other cheek,” stated Tudor.
“I understand that you’re doing your job and doing different things, but there’s also called having a heart,” added Tudor. “They all had purple hearts. There’s a big difference. We all have hearts; purple hearts are a little more important.”
“I’m horrified … and I think most of the people who saw the pictures are,” said California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. “We have a responsibility with the State of California and all of our agencies that work with the public to treat people with respect.”
According to U-T San Diego, the surfers were eventually allowed in the water (with the disabled veterans) because they were volunteers and not being paid.
California State Park officials issued a statement that fell short of an apology:
We regret any miscommunication in this case, however, the issue was very quickly resolved between State Parks and event organizers, and the event was allowed to continue without further incident. We see a lot of value in events like this, because they bring the community together, and we look forward to working with the organizers next year.
Sources: U-T San Diego, Fox 5 San Diego, Instagram (Image Credit: Joel Tudor with permission)