Beach Renamed To Honor Lifeguard

Members of the Pinto family stand by the sign designating the 22nd Avenue beach as the Keith Pinto Memorial Beach at White Sands. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  BERKELEY – Now, Keith Pinto will forever be at the beach.

  The 22nd Avenue beach in South Seaside Park was renamed in honor of 19-year-old Keith Pinto, who lost his life there last year during a lightning storm. Seven other people – three of them lifeguards – were also injured that day. So many local lifeguards came out to his funeral that lifeguards from other counties, and in at least one case another state, came to cover their shifts.

  Tyler Pinto, his brother, gave a speech during the dedication. “Thank you to everyone being out here. It means more to us than we can possibly express. I know Keith is smiling down on us, gathered together from all parts of his life. Your support really gets us through.”

  Tyler remarked that it was about 10 months ago. “They say it gets easier with time, but it gets harder with time because he’s not here for milestone events.”

Tyler Pinto, Keith’s brother, thanks friends for remembering him. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

  Township officials then unveiled a sign near the beach entrance showing him in his lifeguard chair. The name “Keith Pinto Memorial Beach at White Sands” is followed by “Keith left us too soon doing what he loved, serving and protecting. His sacrifice will never be forgotten. He will be remembered as a Hero, and missed by his family, friends and fellow lifeguards. ‘Sky above, sand below, peace within.’”

  Family members hadn’t seen the sign before it was unveiled, and they gasped at how beautiful it was. In addition to the sign, several of the people gathered had tattoos memorializing the young man.

  He had started as a lifeguard when he was 16. The teenager was known for his kindness and his dedication to his loved ones. He graduated from Toms River High School North and was a sophomore at Ocean County College. He was studying criminal justice psychology and had plans to join the U.S. Marines.