Woody’s Ocean Grille owner and Sea Bright Rising creator Chris Wood has earned a place in documentary history.
The Fair Havenite and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate won a Telly award for his part in a documentary on Sea Bright Rising and the non-profit’s partnership with the St. Bernard Project.
Wood, or Woody, as he is more widely recognized, thanked “Sean Moran, Viacom, MTV and VH1 for doing such a great job documenting Sea Bright Rising and our partnership with the St Bernard Project,” in a post on his Facebook wall about the award, which he said was a surprise to him on Thursday night.
Wood started Sea Bright Rising in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Surviving the storm better than most in Sea Bright, a small strip of a then near-flattened peninsula town, he and his head chef, Onofrio Moscato, started flipping burgers on a grill in the municipal lot next to the restaurant to feed whoever they could.
What started out as a bite to eat and a little comfort quickly turned into three meals a day, clothing, toiletries, incidentals, a U.S. Air Force tent under which cooking was done and then the National Guard rolled in on official duty to help. The effort grew to fundraising to fix Sandy-ravaged homes under the monicker of Sea Bright Rising.
To date, Sea Bright Rising has raised more than $1.3 million and distributed more than $1 million of it to 300 families and 18 businesses in Sea Bright, according to its website.