(June 7, 2019) To honor the indelible positivity musician and craftsman Craig Sibal left behind following a fatal vehicular accident in May 2018, last month the Surfrider Foundation Ocean City chapter immortalized its former chairperson by rededicating its Ocean Friendly Garden at Northside Park on 125th Street with a namesake memorial plaque.
Among the numerous souls that Sibal, 49, affected during his lifetime was companion Rachel Logan, who was emotionally overwhelmed after getting a first glimpse of “Craig’s Garden,” prior to the Surfriders’ annual Hands Across the Sand event on May 18.
Sibal and Logan, both natives of Rockville born months apart, and who unknowingly graduated high school together, discovered genuine love in 2016 after initially becoming acquainted a decade earlier.
Logan said the couple was on the verge of engagement before a tractor-trailer demolished the Dodge Ram double cab Sibal was driving through Frederick while commuting home to Rockville on May 12, just two weeks shy of turning 50.
“We were definitely making plans for our future,” she said.
The would-be soul mates first crossed paths in 2006, meeting by happenstance during a 20-year reunion that Logan traveled from Georgia to attend at Rockville High School outside D.C.,
“We chatted briefly,” she recalled. “I thought he was animated and full of energy.”
Despite having zero mutual recognition from their school days, Logan said sparks flickered during their “reunion” conversation.
In 2010, Sibal connected with Logan on Facebook, but otherwise remained on the periphery of her imagination, even after relocating to the Baltimore area in 2013 for on-air work with CBS radio.
Several years later Logan, once again, stumbled unexpectedly into destiny after attending a performance by No Tell Motel, which featured Sibal on bass and back-up vocals. Among a lengthy musical resume, in recent years Sibal also played with Rebel Soul, a Kid Rock tribute act.
“I saw them play in 2016 at the Fish Head Cantina [in Halethorpe] but [at first] didn’t realize it was Craig because his look was different,” she said.
Unbeknownst to Logan, Sibal’s band mates were aware she was attending and had hipped their cohort to the presence of his love interest.
“He knew I was going to be there,” she said. “The lead singer told him.”
Logan said about 15 minutes into the set she recognized the guy thumping the bass was Sibal.
“I got excited and we chatted and caught up,” she said. “We had our first date one month later.”
The pair became quickly enamored of each other and developed into soul mates.
“His energy was inspirational,” she said. “He got more done on Sunday before noon than most of us do in a month.”
Logan said Sibal imparted a passion for life, more specifically “salt life.”
“The ocean, beach life, surfing and skateboarding were in his blood,” she said.
Despite a western-shore based “day job,” as a senior site manager for telecommunication projects, Sibal felt most at ease when dropping anchor at weekend digs in Fenwick Island, Logan said.
“He had a trailer home in Fenwick that he fixed up with a close friend,” she said.
The ocean side refuge, which was dilapidated when Sibal signed the deed, was eventually transformed into a charming beach oasis, Logan said.
“I never ceased to be amazed with what Craig could create with his hands,” she said.
Spending the bulk of summer weekends on the shore with Sibal awakened Logan’s passion for the oceanic.
In fact, prior to the garden project coming to fruition, Logan, who currently lives near Baltimore, was already planning to attend the Ocean City Surfrider Foundation’s Hands Across the Sands event on May 18.
“Craig and I attended Hands Across the Sand two-years ago,” she said. “It was cold and the weather was less than ideal.”
From 2014-2017, Sibal served as chairperson for the Surfrider Foundation Ocean City chapter and later helped imbue Logan with a passion for protecting beaches, ocean waters and marine life.
“This year I was blown away by the Hands Across the Sand presentation,” she said.
Joining both the Surfrider Foundation Ocean City and Delaware chapters, along with past partner Assateague Coastal Trust, for this years’ event was Oceana Mid-Atlantic and Go Green OC.
“These groups came together and something magic happened on the beach,” she said.
Hands Across the Sand was founded in 2009 by Surfrider Foundation member Dave Rauschkolb in Seaside, Florida to demonstrate support for protecting coastlines and waterways from oil and gas development.
This year 100 events were organized in five countries, with 30 events in Florida alone.
Harkening back to the 2017 event, Logan said the weather for this years’ Hands Across the Sand, at least initially, was eerily reminiscent.
“That day was overcast and it was predicted all day,” she said.
While the gathered eco-troops listened to opening remarks under gray skies, the tide turned shortly after hands were joined for a common cause.
“Within five minutes of lining up for Hands Across the Sand skies cleared and it stayed beautiful the entire day,” she said.