WHEN Colette Jones, manager of the Blue Pig Tavern, passed away on February 2 after a five-year battle with breast cancer, it didn’t take long for the news to spread. Messages of love and gratitude began appearing on so many Facebook pages; those who knew her wanted to share with the Cape May community Colette loved so much their appreciation for having known her.
“She was my best friend,” said Colette’s daughter Kristine Foltz. “When I got pregnant in 2000, I was living in North Carolina. My husband was just getting out of the military, and I told him we needed to move back to New Jersey, because I needed to be near my mom. She was amazing.”
But it wasn’t just Colette’s three children, her two grandchildren, or her loving husband Rick Jones, who felt this way. The men and women who worked for her during her 20 years managing the Ugly Mug, or the last six years she spent at the Blue Pig, admired her nurturing spirit as well.“She was stern and firm, but so loving,” Kristine told us. “So many of her foreign employees she cared for as her own children. She went to one girl’s graduation because her parents weren’t able to make it from Romania. She attended another employee’s wedding in Mexico. She went above and beyond.”
It’s a spirit that garnered her the respect of everyone who knew her. “She was always optimistic and upbeat,” said co-managing partner of Cape Resorts Group, Curtis Bashaw, who had the American flag on his Congress Hall property lowered to half-mast in honor of his friend and employee. “Even in the darkest of times, she was her optimistic, upbeat self. She’s been in and out of remission, and each time the cancer came back, she stared it down with grace and dignity. She had a kind and gracious spirit.”
Colette’s family had planned a beef and beer to raise money for medical treatments and the event is still scheduled for February 23 at the Bayview, Wildwood Crest, from 7pm to 11pm. Money raised will go toward outstanding medical bills and to the Love of Linda Cancer Fund, the Golf Fights Cancer organization, and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. For updates, check out Kristine’s Facebook page at facebook.com/kristina.foltz?fref=ts.
Run, Nicole, Run
WHEN we first read that 21-year-old Nicole Mehlman — former Exit Zero photographer, former Freda’s café employee, former social media intern for the jazz festival, and current Cape May lover — was going to run a 4k for charity, we didn’t think a huge deal of it. Nice, sure. Generous, yes. But such races aren’t exactly a rarity around these parts — we know lots of folks who participate in highly anticipated turkey trots and turtle runs and… there’s probably a seagull sprint happening somewhere in this county as we type this.
But this isn’t your typical race.
In this event, “K” doesn’t stand for kilometer at all. What does it represent, you want to know? Thousand. As in four thousand. As in four thousand… miles.
Beginning on June 15, Nicole will join a group of 30 people who are running from San Francisco to Baltimore in 30 days. “I’ve been cross-country twice before,” Nicole told us. “But I guess you could say I wanted to do it a little differently this time.” The days will be structured as a relay, in which each participant will run a mile at a time until he or she has reached a daily goal of approximately 13 miles. Chasing vans will follow to make sure all is well. But the best part? It’s all for a good cause.
Eighty-three percent of the money raised — the runners must secure $4,500 each by May — benefits the Ulman Cancer fund, which offers support to young adults affected by cancer. En route, the runners will use their one day off a week to volunteer, whether that means visiting with cancer patients or giving awareness-raising presentations. “The organization focuses on a demographic people don’t think about,” Nicole told us. “When you’re 15 or 20 or 25, you’re supposed to be healthy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to find out, at my age, that this isn’t the case. But it’s this demographic that has the highest death rate. I hope to raise some awareness for this; it’s not just the pediatric and geriatric populations that are affected.” Nicole’s other motivation? The struggles her own family members and friends — including a neighbor, an aunt, and her grandfather — have had with the disease. “I just finished my senior year cross-country season at Niagara University,” Nicole said. “I’ve been running competitively for eight years, and I feel a little lost now that it’s over. I decided I could use the sport I love to give something back.”
And she’s counting on your support to do so. Nicole, who comes from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, and whose family has a house in Town Bank, calls Cape May her second home, and now is the time to show some support for one of our own. Businesses looking to make a donation can email Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a fundraising packet. Individuals can simply log on to 4kforcancer.org/profiles/nicole-mehlman/. “I love the area,” Nicole told us, “and I love the locals down there. I’d be grateful for any contribution.”
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, three Malibu locals found out that First Point — their favorite surf break and an iconic surfing location — was about to be destroyed by coastal development. They worked with the local municipality to see that this didn’t happen, and the Surfrider Foundation — now an international organization that advocates for the protection of our oceans and their ecosystems — was born. It’s a group that came to be because passionate people were faced with the loss of something they loved dearly, making it an appropriate forum for memorializing Tommy Kraemer.
We were devastated to hear about the passing of Tommy, the 28-year-old sous chef of Peter Shields Inn, who was in a fatal car accident on the Garden State Parkway on January 11. We attended the funeral, along with so many others who’ve been blessed to know Tommy — the church was standing room only. We’re not surprised by this; he was a wonderful man who cared deeply about his friends, his family, and his beautiful wife, Lauren (nee Bailey) Kraemer, who works as a marketing coordinator for Elaine’s Dinner Theater.
Lauren has been working hard on the aforementioned memorial to Tommy through Surfrider. The work of the foundation — including beach clean-ups, coastal education programs, and the monitoring of water quality — was close to Tommy’s heart, as he was an active waterman. We had the pleasure of watching him surf, and it was a wonderful thing to see.
If you’d like to contribute, checks — which should include a note that your donation is for Tommy Kraemer’s memorial — can be made out to: Surfrider Foundation, South Jersey Chapter, 7115 Ridge Avenue, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234. All of your money will go directly to Cape May County projects.
Rest in peace, Tommy.