Letter: A son’s pride
As many of you know, the Seabreeze Restaurant on Gwynn’s Island has changed ownership for the first time in almost 35 years. My parents, Ralph and Mary Valdrighi, started the Seabreeze in 1979. It started out as a plain cinderblock building with yellow fluorescent lights outside, a screen door, juke box and no air conditioning!
But my parents saw that it could be something quite more, and have worked side by side for more than three decades to make it just that. For a husband and wife to work together every day for all those years is a testimony in itself! Their long hours and hard work were not just for their business, but for their community also. On more than one occasion I remember them going back to work after a long day to make hamburgers and drinks for the volunteer firemen if there was a bad house fire somewhere in the county.
The day after Hurricane Isabel almost destroyed their restaurant, they still thought of others by taking what food they had saved and, instead of letting it go bad, went to the Boys and Girls Club and cooked all day in the parking lot to give free food and drinks to everyone working to help others in the aftermath of the storm.
The Seabreeze, in these past 35 years, has employed 150-plus young men and women from the county and I’m sure they will all tell you they learned more during their employment than just working in a restaurant. My parents have made the Seabreeze into an iconic part of Mathews history.
I hope the new owners will make what changes they want, but know what not to change to keep it the great place it has always been. I also hope they will get to have the same loyal customers and friends that my folks have enjoyed having all these years. Congratulations, Mom and Dad, enjoy your retirement. You certainly deserve it!
Cobbs Creek, Va.