Two life-size bronze “grommets” (slang for young surfers) greet visitors at JT’s Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground for EveryBODY at the 1st Street Jetty, the older one mentoring the younger on the challenges that lie ahead.
JT’s Grommet Island is the first beach playground designed for adults and children of all physical capabilities, and was inspired by Josh Thompson, a Virginia Beach local and avid surfer who was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2006. When Josh was unable to access the beach in his wheelchair, the idea for the 100% handicap accessible oceanfront park was born, with JT’s Grommet Island opening in 2010.
Anticipation was commissioned to honor Josh and the fight against ALS and is dedicated to the JT Walk participants who have made JT’s Grommet Island a reality. Funds for park maintenance and other ALS-related causes are raised each year during the JT Walk & Beach Party, which has become the largest ALS walk in the country.