November 21, 2017

Community Rallies for Friend, Former Resident and Surfer Margagliano

Throwdown for Danny Benefit May 6 2012

Written by Ann Richardson @ www.shorenewstoday.com

They call him “Questo,” for his sometimes annoying habit of asking lots and lots of questions. Whether it was about the tide, the wind or the waves, Danny Margagliano wanted to learn everything he could about surfing.

With his sparkly eyes and big smile, the quintessential waterman became a champion, and in the process touched the heart of everyone he came into contact with.

The friendly Upper Township native hit Ocean City’s surfing scene with gusto. He made friends for life even as he rose through the ranks to become one of the region’s best surfers and travel around the world competing.

Margagliano graduated from Ocean City High School in 1993. He left the area years ago, settling in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., but maintained his close ties with the local surfing community. So when a recent spinal cord injury left him paralyzed, the tight-knit group rallied to do whatever they could for a friend in need.

A firefighter, EMT and paramedic in South Walton Beach and a Realtor for Keller Williams in the same community, Margagliano remains in a Pensacola Hospital, leaving his wife, April and two children, Ethan and Summer, struggling with mounting worries and medical expenses.

Friends and fellow firefighters with the Ocean City Fire Department are planning a “Throw Down for Danny” 2 to 6 p.m. May 6 at the Ocean City Yacht Club. A $25 donation includes food, live entertainment and door prizes courtesy of a growing list of local merchants.

Margagliano was injured in a dive off a boat at Noriega Point in Destin, Fla. into shallow water, according to his friend Nick Bricker, who is coordinating the event.

“He broke his neck,” Bricker said. “It was a devastating accident, just awful.”

Bricker said the support for “Questo” began building the minute he started spreading the word about the Throwdown.

“It’s just unbelievable, awesome really, the response that we’ve had,” he said. “I’m just blown away. It’s incredible. Danny hasn’t lived here in 10 to 15 years, but he had such an impact on people. We all stay in touch. The word on the street is overwhelming, really. Everyone remembers Danny.”

“Danny is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, very funny, athletic, gifted,” he said.

Lance Miller said he and Margagliano go “way back.” Along with surfing phenom Matt Keenan and some others, the group joined the National Scholastic Surfing Association and traveled the globe surfing.

“We grew up together,” Miller said. “We went everywhere: Brazil, California, around the world, we learned, went to school while we were traveling. It was an incredible opportunity and we made the best of it. We grew very close … to think of him suffering, it really hurts.

“Danny touched a lot of lives, he’s just an incredible person,” he said. “An all-around great guy, he’s easy-going and very kind. He was so happy-go-lucky, never worried about anything. He’s a genuinely good person, one of the best. I still can’t believe that it happened.

Miller, who now resides in Carlisle, Pa. and maintains a summer home in Ocean City, said he, too, was bowled over by the outpouring of response to the call for help.

“It’s the surfing community,” he said. “We are a family, and when someone is in need, we pull together. We really stick together in a big way. You need something, you reach out for help and we pull together. Danny is an incredible family man, a great fireman, a great guy.”

Sean Reilly said Margagliano is a “really cool guy.”

“I learned to surf at the same time,” Reilly said. “Jimmy Kirk was the lifeguard on the surfing beach at the time and he kept a close eye on all of us. He was like everybody’s father.”

Reilly said Kirk really kept the beach safe and made everything a teachable moment.

“Danny would ask so many questions,” he said. “He ended up with the nickname ‘Questo,’ and he turned out to be one of the best surfers ever to come out of Ocean City. He set the bar high, and worked hard, a group of kids did well and started the era of domination for the Ocean City High School team. He was one of the surfers that really put Ocean City on the map. We stay in touch, he loves to fish, too. He is a true waterman.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of fundraiser and I have never seen anything like this,” he said. “I’m going to donate a charter fishing trip, something like that. Everyone wants to do something to help. Anybody who has a donation to make should get in touch with Nick. Every dollar helps.”

Katie Reilly Hinson was part of the OCHS gang of surfers that hung out with Margagliano. She traveled around the country competing with him.

“He’s a true and genuine soul, a kind spirit,” she said.

Thinking of Danny, she said, makes her smile.

“He had this smile … it just melted your heart,” she said. “He was a powerhouse in the water; a tenacious, yet graceful surfer. His ability to be one with the wave was effortless! He’s fun and energetic and he enjoys life to the fullest. Danny has been a friend since grade school and has always been one of my favorite people to surf with.

“Danny will always be my friend,” she said. “I have a big heart for him. He’s an awesome, super guy.

“Of all the people in the world who deserves a miracle, it’s Danny,” she said. “I wish for Danny and his family, a miracle.”

All donations can be sent to: Throw Down for Danny, 331 Stagecoach Road, Marmora, NJ 08223

Make checks payable to Ocean City FMBA Local 27.

For more information, contact Nick Bricker at themush(at)comcast.net or 231-1562.

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