Matthew Donahue: 1985 - 1990
Dependable, courageous, humble, and diligent. These are some of the qualities that the Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol looks for in their candidates each year. Alumnus, Matthew Donahue was a guard that optimized what it meant to serve on the beach. He has taken valuable lessons learned during his years with the WCBP and has applied them to his life after the Crest. We are excited that Matthew has been so kind as to share some of his experiences from his time as a Wildwood Crest lifeguard.
What made you join the beach patrol?
The challenge of being on such a respected beach patrol and to have the experience of doing something gratifying for summer work that wasn't just for the money but to create life experiences and being around like minded people that pushed physical activity and competition.
What are some of your best memories from your years with the WCBP?
I think one of the best memories I have of the WCBP was that I opened the door and opportunity for three of my brothers to follow me on the beach patrol. Have always been proud of the fact that for one weekend we were all able to guard together on the beach thanks to the Captain letting me come back a guest guard the Labor Day weekend!
Doing the around the island row approximately 8 times with 4 different guards (my brother Glenn, Dave Lindsey, Tom Fredricks, and Linda Kelly.
The workouts in the morning were always fun and the camaraderie with the other guards and busting chops was great.
Being able to row the van dyne boat through the pylons under the pier near Cresse Ave when Buddy wasn't looking and when there was actually water under the pier then!!!!
Going to the race track in AC with Joe Maloy and all the other bad influential Beach tent crew, losing my shirt from bets and have way too much fun on the bus ride up and back and Buddy making us run the rock pile the next morning.
By the way, that wasn't me who put John Lincke's stand out at the end of the pier after the Ball!
Tell us about your life after the beach.
After unfortunately having to depart the beach patrol I entered into the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1991 as a Special Agent. I am currently still with the DEA and have had the opportunity to work in numerous cities in the United States where I conducted criminal Investigations of all levels and be a part of our high risk arrest team. I was assigned to the country of Colombia on two separate occasions and worked throughout south America for 11 of my years with DEA where I served as a Special Agent and the Assistant Regional Director of the Andean Region. I am currently the Special Agent in Charge of DEA's Caribbean Field Division which covers the entire area of the Caribbean from the Bahamas to Barbados.
I still get back to the Crest when I can for the summers and really enjoy being on the beach and thinking about the great memories I had there with WCBP and my family.
How has the beach patrol impacted your life?
I would have to say that the impact of being on the WCBP with my experiences, lessons learned, and things seen while on the Beach Patrol influenced and molded me into the person I am today. Gave me the courage and belief to know I could overcome hurdles and difficulties in life to be successful. Taught me how to get up, brush myself off and move on and learn from the lesson. Being around such a great group of guards and tent crew who all have had various life experiences and come from different backgrounds is an invaluable and incredible opportunity to have while you are pondering life decision you have to make going forward in your life. I was very fortunate to have the Bill, Skip and the Feraco's, Max, Bick, Buddy and may others during those days who always over friendship and guidance.
What advice would you give a young guard today?
With my life experiences, my travels and the things I have seen and done since life after the beach I would have to say live each day fully and and don't cheat yourself out of one second. What you learn and experience on the beach with your fellow guards are all building blocks for your life to move forward and to prepare you for things that you might never imagine could happen and or experience. No matter how small your task is, irrelevant you might think your assignment is, unimportant you feel things are that day....... realize that you get much more out it it by doing the best you can with care care, tenacity and pride. It is the small things that make you successful and respected. What I learned on the beach is CHARACTER is something you do when no one is watching.... because you do it because you believe it should be done and you can be depended on because of your reputation.
Feel fortunate that you are on a team and with a group each summer that maintains a special and unique history that has produced some very successful people in many fields and positions and they all look back on their WCBP days as some of their best in their lives. That should tell you that you have a terrific opportunity being on the WCBP. So live it, love it, give it 100% always and know that someone's life could depend on you at a moments notice, so ALWAYS be ready!