beach bum: one who enjoys being at the beach
Greg Wilfert’s name isn’t listed as part of the definition of “beach bum.” But it probably could be. The 66-year-old just celebrated 50 consecutive summers of hanging out at one particular slice of Maine shoreline. And he has no plans to stop.
Wilfert still remembers the moment he fell for Scarborough Beach State Park. It happened during his first shift as a lifeguard there in 1972.
“When I came down and saw the beach and, I guess, what do you call it, your first love? There it is,” Wilfert says.
Most days, Wilfert walks the sand, rescue buoy in hand. Or he sits near the lifeguard stand peering out over the beach and into the sparkling blue waters.
“Greg has a passion for the beach. He’s passionate about making sure our patrons are safe,” says David Currier. He’s in his 39th season working as a rescuer at Scarborough.
Over the years, Wilfert kept his summers for lifeguarding even as he worked as a physical education teacher and later ran an antique business with his late wife.
He’s retired from those businesses. But he never gave up his summer job. “Anything else can be cut,” Wilfert says. “The beach was never going to be on the chopping block. It’s just who I am.”
In 1992, the state tried to dispose of Scarborough to save money. So Wilfert leased the land and ran it himself. He still has a business interest in Black Point Resource Management, which currently operates the park.
Today, Wilfert’s official title is “park manager.” But he spends 90% of his time lifeguarding. In 50 years, the lifeguard team he oversees has conducted more than 900 rescues without a single drowning.
What a gift to the people of Scarborough! Wilfert enjoys sharing his knowledge of the surf and rip currents. He’s in good shape and swims nearly a mile in the ocean each day. That helps him remain able “to do good and share” the talents God has given him. (Hebrews 13:16)
This summer, Wilfert began training a Newfoundland puppy named Beacon. Wilfert hopes that someday the fully grown 130-pound dog will assist the rescue team. Newfies love water, are strong swimmers, and, like St. Bernards, are highly trainable for rescue work.
During the off-season, Wilfert skis and takes flying lessons. But he heads to the beach come spring.
After Wilfert’s story ran on Maine’s WMTV 8, former students, players, and beachgoers thanked the long-time lifeguard for his example, dedication, passion—and “for keeping us safe all these years!”
One remark summed up how folks feel about Wilfert: “You are Scarborough Beach State Park!”
Why? God gives talents and skills and positive traits to every person. Putting those to use to serve Him and other people is a positive for human culture—sometimes with eternal significance.
Pray: For the wisdom to use God-given talents and gifts in ways that honor God and show love to others.