By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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ROB VARELA/THE STAR Jennifer and Cody Kupfer lean in to each other at a picnic to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Ed Hunt Rehab Point at Oxnard Beach Park in Oxnard.

Picnickers celebrate founder of beach with access for disabled
July 14, 2013 Ventura County Star

Warren Glaser, 76 and in a wheelchair, expressed his thanks for the man who fulfilled a dream to establish an accessible path to the beach for people with disabilities, seniors and disabled veterans.

“This path wouldn’t exist without Ed Hunt,” Glaser said of the man who inspired Ed Hunt Rehab Point at Oxnard Beach Park.

“Ed did what nobody else would do: He gave something to the disabled community that others wouldn’t even dream of giving us,” said Glaser, of Ventura. “In Ventura, at least we have a promenade that gets us halfway close to the beach. But in terms of a special spot, this is it.”

Glaser was among a crowd that gathered Sunday for the 21st anniversary of Ed Hunt Rehab Point at Oxnard Beach Park. A picnic was staffed by City Corps volunteers, members of Elks Lodge No. 1443 and other volunteers who support Hunt’s vision.

“Ed Hunt, as we all know, was very instrumental in getting the path out to the beach,” John Zaragoza, supervisor of Ventura County’s 5th District, told the audience Sunday.

“Before, seniors and individuals who could not make it to the water had no way to get there,” Zaragoza said. “Ed Hunt was that person who got us there.”

Zaragoza honored the effort with a proclamation from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

“There are many individuals, such as Harriet Weigel and Christine Portillo, that have helped every single year as volunteers to get this going,” Zaragoza said.

Portillo, president of the board of Ed Hunt Rehab Point, said Sunday’s picnic honored the late Hunt and those who foster his vision.

“Ed Hunt fulfilled his mission to give wheelchair access to the beach. As we celebrate that mark, we also pay tribute to those who make a difference in this world,” said Portillo, of Oxnard. “The annual picnic draws people to celebrate a unity of love that we all should appreciate.”

Portillo recognized three people who helped with the project who died this year: Roy Chambers, past president; Fee Chambers, past treasurer; and Gabe Gabrielson, historian. A father and son pair, Ignacio and Arthur Carmona, received a veterans recognition award. A spirit award went to Weigel, of Port Hueneme, an advocate for Ed Hunt Rehab Point.

For Christie Leeds, 64, the path provides access to “God’s healing place.” The Oxnard resident used a wheelchair for the past 14 years.

“This path to the beach helps heal your spirit when things are just down and out. God just lifts you up.”

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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