Tony DiMichele and Jeff Smith
Tony DiMichele and Jeff Smith met in 2002 in Philadelphia during Outfest. They were introduced by a mutual friend at Country Line Dancing night at Woody’s, and they have been together ever since. They live in Rehoboth Beach with their two cats, Hobie and Fenway.
Tony is a native of Sussex County. He and his brother, Steve Alexander grew up in Milton, Delaware. Tony received a degree in Social Work from Delaware Technical College in Georgetown, Delaware. After college, Tony worked for Mark Showell Interiors located in downtown Rehoboth, and Express in the Tanger Outlets. He now has what he calls the perfect job working for the Coach Men’s Factory Store in the Tanger Outlets. When he isn’t working, Tony likes to work in the yard, workout at the gym, and loves to go to the beach.
Jeff grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire which is on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. He has also lived in Massachusetts, South Carolina, Utah, Montana, and Pennsylvania. Jeff received his Bachelor’s in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, and his Master’s in Nutrition from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. After college, Jeff worked for Morrison Senior Management for ten years, then at numerous retirement communities in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Currently, Jeff works for Cadbury Senior Lifestyles as their Food Service Director. In his spare time he likes to go camping, play golf, renovate houses, and he loves to go to the beach.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
Tony: I began volunteering in 1989.
Jeff: I began volunteering in 2003 during Love weekend.
What events/activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
Tony: My main volunteer activity has been with Sundance. I have also volunteered at the Black and White Beach Ball, the 25th Anniversary Gala, and other various events that required a bartender.
Jeff: I have volunteered for Love, Sundance, the 25th Anniversary Gala, the Black and White Beach Ball, and other events that required a bartender.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
Tony: Seeing all of the familiar faces at Sundance year after year for 28 years.
Jeff: Watching one of my favorite singers (at the time), Martha Wash. She performed at Love, and I was only 10 feet away. When she sang “It’s Raining Men” it brought down the house.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
Tony: I would have to say my favorite is Sundance. I get to work and play with my most favorite person, Jeff (Smith).
Jeff: I think it would have to be Sundance. It is great seeing the Rehoboth Beach community come together for such a great cause.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
We both like fall the best. The crowds are gone, and the weather is still great for walking on the beach. The town is still busy, but not too busy, and when you go out you see so many people you know.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you growing up.
Tony: My Mom. My mom survived many obstacles, and by watching her it taught me to be a much stronger person.
Jeff: Russel Hart, Sr. who owned Hart’s Turkey Farm, a restaurant where I worked for seven years. He showed me not only how to run a successful business, but how to make the employees feel like they were part of a family. It shaped the philosophy I use in my professional career today.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Tony: If I have any extra time in the day I want to spend it with Jeff.
Jeff: I like to take long walks on the beach with my headphones on, letting my mind wander.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Tony: Rehoboth, of course. However, Washington, DC is a close second.
Jeff: Boston. I love the people, the attitude, and the sports teams; hence the name of our cat “Fenway”!
Night owl or early riser and why?
We are both early risers. We love spending early mornings together and it allows us to be very productive.
Best year of your life and why?
Tony: The best year of my life would have to be 2002. That is the year I met the most wonderful person in the world. He knows who he is.
Jeff: I don’t have a best year (except for 2002). I have had some great occasions throughout my life that are very memorable.
Favorite holiday and why?
Tony: I would have to say Christmas. I love the spirit and all of the excitement that surrounds the holiday.
Jeff: Christmas. As my siblings and I got older we would all go home for the holiday and stay at our parents’ house. We would go to Midnight Mass, then go back to the house, along with some friends and relatives for Mom’s Tourtiere Pie (a French meat pie). It was always memorable.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
Tony: Yes. I always believed I would see things change for the better. Things were changing silently even when I was in high school.
Jeff: No I did not. Growing up gay in New Hampshire was a challenge. I don’t think I knew another gay person until high school, but, it still wasn’t something you talked about. We used to drive an hour and a half to Ogunquit, Maine to have a drink in a gay bar.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen.
Tony: First, I would have to say all of the development. When I was growing up all you could see for miles was farmland. Now, there are so many houses and the roads are always so crowded in the summer. Second would have to be the social acceptance.
Jeff: Rehoboth is no longer a quiet little town after Labor Day. A lot of businesses now stay open year round, and there is something going on almost every weekend.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Tony: The death of my mother, meeting Jeff (love of my life), and getting an awesome job at Coach!
Jeff: Hurricane Hugo, I stayed in Charleston during the hurricane with a friend and three pets. There were times I didn’t think we would make it; Graduate School, the hard work and dedication paid off; and meeting Tony, he changed my life.
Describe an ideal date night.
Tony: A quiet evening with drinks, a nice dinner, and just hanging out together.
Jeff: Going to happy hour at Jam, seeing a show at Clear Space Theater, and ending the night having a drink with Bartender David at A(muse).
Tony and Jeff, thank you for your continued support, and for volunteering for so many events over the years, especially for all of the years you have volunteered at Sundance. Year after year, many of us look forward to seeing the two of you behind the bar. CAMP Rehoboth cannot do all they do without dedicated volunteers like you.