Lido Paddle Project



Stand Up With Us Event at The Ranch at Laguna Beach 


On Saturday, March 27th, Lido Paddle Project hosted it’s inaugural fun-raiser Stand Up With Us.  The sold-out event raised just shy of $30,000 of which all funds will be directed towards programming for first responders and veterans. 


With many folks on the wait list, and, the team being so impressed with the Ranch at Laguna Beach’s standards of excellence, a second musical oriented event is being planned ideally for June.  


As luncheon guests registered at the Sage Patio, guitar tunes of John Guastaferro filled the air adding to the warmth of the lush green hillsides and sunshine. Conversation was lively as it had been long since most had gathered. The appreciation and joy of community was felt by all.


Executive Chef Kyle St. John impressed every guest by one of the most outstanding three course meals ever created. When most guests were enjoying main course of pan seared oro king salmon, professional opera soprano, Katrina Murphy jumped up to captivate the audience with a surprise performance of two Italian arias.


Next, Magic Castle Magician, John Guastaferro, delighted the crowd with slight of hand astounding all on his journey to connect his audience to wonder.  All this fun was followed by chocolate pot de crème or seasonal fruit tart.  


The post lunch band, Chris Amodeo and the Moderns, performed peaceful songs from the 60s and 70s.  The short program was led by board Member and Emcee Ron Pringle.  Michelle Highberg began with thanks to all guests and sponsors.  Next, Lido Paddle Project’s PTSD specialist, Brooke Bergman Parr spoke on the stressors faced by our protectors and veterans this past year. 


Co-founder couple Debra Kottke and Norman Rest next shared on the origin and vision. Norman shared his immense gratitude for the Stand Up With Us event feeling its mission alignment with community healing from isolation and fear of the past year.  


Rich German took guests on journey of his colorful life, ocean stewardship and how S.U.P. has impacted his journey, inspiring his nonprofit Project O and his quest to ensure Laguna Beach becomes a Blue City.  Lido Paddle Project is honored for Rich’s volunteerism for ocean paddles.


City Clerk and Air Force Veteran, Ann Marie McKay spoke as one of Lido Paddle Project’s served veterans.  She shared how S.U.P. has instilled peace and grounding in her life.The program concluded with an opportunity drawing followed by more tunes on the patio.