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9th Annual Ocean Champions Awards Dinner at Monmouth University on October 28

Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will host the 9th Annual Champions of the Ocean Awards Dinner on Monday, October 28, 2013. The theme of this year’s awards is Storm Smart=Storm Ready. UCI will present the National Ocean Champion award to Admiral Thad Allen (USCG-ret.), who directed the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and was National Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Coastal and Ocean Leadership Award will be presented to the American Red Cross, South Jersey Region, and the Volunteer of the Year Award will be given to Waves of Action for the Shore, Clean Ocean Action.

The Red Cross response to Superstorm Sandy was the biggest U.S. disaster response by the American Red Cross in more than five years – supported by generous donations from people and businesses across the nation. Red Cross disaster response operations spanned 11 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Before and after the storm hit, the Red Cross was there with shelter, as well as millions of meals and snacks and relief items, and emotional support for tens of thousands of people affected by this huge storm. The Red Cross response in just the first six months included 17.5 million meals and snacks to those affected up and down the East Coast; distributing more than 7 million relief items; more than 74,000 shelter stays, nearly half of all shelter stays provided by a range of groups; and emotional support and health contacts for more than 110,000 people in need.

Clean Ocean Action (COA) was uniquely qualified for the challenges that resulted from Superstorm Sandy. For nearly 30 years, COA has built strong, long-standing relationships with coastal communities, citizens, businesses, groups, and elected leaders along the New Jersey and New York shore, and beyond. In the past year, some communities needed help digging out, others needed help designing a greener future, and others needed help bringing back coastal economies. COA’s 2013 “Waves of Action” program supports these needs with volunteers and resources to help improve and protect the marine environment. Throughout 2013, COA is engaging its network of organizations, businesses, citizens, and municipalities to help coastal communities. To date, nearly 14,000 volunteers have been connected with nearly 300 project sites.

The Awards dinner will be held at 6 p.m. in Wilson Hall. For tickets to the Awards Dinner, sponsorship opportunities, donations, or additional information, contact Lorraine Jordan at 732-263-5662 or visit Sponsors of the Champions of the Ocean Awards Dinner include PSEG; Bradley M. Campbell LLC; Marilyn A. Berry Thompson, Chair, MWW Federal Practice; Meridian Institute; Open Door Media; Atlantic Wind Connection; Najarian Associates; Pringle Quinn Anzano; Litwin & Provence, LLC; American Association of Port Authorities; Hatch Mott MacDonald; AECOM; Ocean Conservancy; Sokol, Behot & Fiorenzo; NRDC; Brinkerhoff Environmental LLC; and New Jersey Natural Gas.

Allen will also be the keynote speaker at the Sandy One Year Later: Looking to the Future Conference at Monmouth University on October 29, which is being organized by Monmouth University, the Union of Concerned Scientists, New Jersey Future, NJ Recovery Fund, and other partners. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The UCI was established in September 2005 as one of the University’s Centers of Distinction. UCI’s mission is to serve the public interest as a forum for research, education, and collaboration that fosters the application of the best available science and policy to support healthy and productive coastal ecosystems and sustainable coastal communities.