Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Sculpture that will Welcome Visitors to Ocean County, NJ

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Artist Rendering of the Ocean County Hurricane Sandy Monument

TOMS RIVER, NJ (May 12, 2014) – A Groundbreaking ceremony was held this morning at the site where a signature monument will be unveiled this summer that symbolizes the resiliency of Ocean County residents after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The monument, to be located on Route 37 East, just past Main Street in Toms River was made possible by the generous donation of long-time residents, Jay and Linda Grunin.  It will serve as a welcoming image to residents and visitors alike as they travel the Route 37 corridor. The artwork will feature a monumental bronze sculpture of a family on the boardwalk mounted to a granite base that has seemingly risen above the water around it.  The waves surrounding the sculpture, as well as the scallop shell serving as the backdrop will be custom-carved from blocks of granite.  A stainless steel silhouette of a ferris wheel in the background will appropriately display the message “Welcome to Ocean County”.

“We wanted to give something back to a county that has been our home for the last 45 years,” said Jay Grunin.  “Most importantly, we wanted to forge a new image in people’s minds that truly represents what our community stands for: family, great recreational offerings, and people that rise above adversity regardless of the obstacle.”

“I’m grateful to the Grunin family and the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for their generosity,” said Toms River Township Mayor Tom Kelaher. “The Grunins’ commitment to the arts and Ocean County will be witnessed by thousands of people daily as they drive past this beautiful statue on Route 37.  I want to thank them for siting this welcoming monument in Toms River.”

World-renowned artist and sculptor Brian P. Hanlon, a Toms River resident, was commissioned to design and create the monument.  Hanlon is the Official Sculptor for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and has recently completed statues of Miss America on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, hall of fame basketball coaches John Chaney and Harry Litwack at Temple University, basketball pioneer Earl Lloyd at West Virginia State University, and the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to do something like this in my own hometown” said Hanlon.  “I can sincerely say that there has never been, nor do I think there ever will be, a project that I hold so closely to my heart.”

Jeremy Grunin, Jay and Linda’s son and Executive Director of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, said, “I was born in Ocean County, went to school in Ocean County, and now, along with my wife, Laura, raise my three children here in Ocean County.  It is so exciting to have an opportunity to be part of a project like this which will create an iconic image for our community to be proud of for generations to come.”


Founded in the late 1990’s, the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation supports Ocean and Monmouth County based initiatives that include the arts, human services, and education.  For more information, please visit:


Brian Hanlon is a classically-trained master sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio; a full-service art studio that designs, creates, and installs awe-inspiring and signature monuments featuring bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and granite sculptures, illustrative and informational graphics, and interactive kiosks.

Image caption: Sculptor Brian P. Hanlon unveils the concept for the monument alongside Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher and project patron Jay Grunin.