(Editor’s Note: The following is a series on the men and women who have spent their summers protecting all those who came to Ocean City for fun and safe vacation.)
OCEAN CITY — For most people who decide to try out for the Ocean City Beach Patrol, the process usually starts with a suggestion made by someone else already on the patrol.
Dave Sydiskis was a veteran guard who enjoyed being on the beach patrol and wanted to share that experience with people he met. After all, it had changed his life, and he wanted to do the same for someone else. He found himself doing just that, but ended up changing the lives of not one, but two people in the process.
Steven Carter was a kid from Middle River who was trying to figure out what he wanted to do after he graduated from Kenwood High School. Sydiskis shared his stories with Steven about the adventures and rescues that came with the job of guarding the beaches in Ocean City and convinced him that he should also tryout. Steven headed down to the shore in 1995 and ended up staying for good.
From 1995 to 2005, Steven guarded summers with the OCBP. It was a busy and exciting time.
“In terms of most memorable pulls, there are too many to pick. Typically, the memorable ones aren’t always fun to remember,” he recalled.
Over the decade of service, Steven says he performed CPR too many times to count and was involved in many intense rescues. But he came to understand that a job guarding and saving lives with the OCBP meant “being part of something bigger than yourself.” In 1999, he decided to make Ocean City his full-time home and bought a condo in town.
A year before Steven made this decision, another Baltimore high school student was wondering what she was going to do with her life. Molli Holthaus had grown up in Glen Arm, just around the beltway from Steven. It was 1998, the end of her senior year at Dulaney, and she too had heard about summers working at the beach. Molli headed to Ocean City and applied for the position of a surfing beach facilitator.
Years earlier, Ocean City had decided to offer a moving area to accommodate the growing number of surfers who were coming to the resort. The problem was keeping swimmers safe from surfers, and surfers away from swimmers. The OCBP came up with a group of guards dedicated to keeping these two groups apart, who moved each day with the surfing beach schedule. Molli was tasked with this responsibility, and as fate would have it, during the summer of 1999, would cross the beach of Steven and his crew often. When they met, the two “were just instantly best friends.”
Molli would work on the beach patrol from 1998 to 2000 before moving on. But, like many people who guard and then leave, the pull of the beach life doesn’t easily let up. During the summer of 2001, Molli would come back to Ocean City as often as she could, and it was then that the friendship she and Steven had turned more serious.
“All the girls I lived with (before) weren’t living there that summer and so I called my best friend, Steven, and we hung out incessantly,” she said. The two began dating, and by the next summer, Molli had returned to both a life on the beach patrol, and a life with Steven.
Molli and Steven were engaged in 2003 and married the very next year. And they are “still going strong,” they say. Two people found both summers full of adventure and each other, thanks in part to the suggestion of a single person.
Steven and Molli Carter are still local to Delmarva having moved just over the Delaware line. They are raising a family, with their oldest child now enrolled in the Ocean City Junior Beach Patrol.