Summer 2013 officially begins this Friday.  It's hard to believe next week marks nine months since Superstorm Sandy. 

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey blimp (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

Seems like so long ago for some - like yesterday for others.  As you drive through the small shore town of Lavallette, you wouldn't know there was ever an issue.  The boardwalk is open, the beaches are set and everything is ready for residents and tourists.  It's like that in many spots along the coast.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is sweetening the deal for one lucky family this summer.  They are hosting the "Back to the Boardwalk Sweepstakes" starting today, and you can easily enter to win the grand prize.  What is it you ask?  A free week stay inside a beautiful shore house this August.

The sweepstakes is open to all Jersey residents, 25 years of age or older.  Participants can enter by visiting the Horizon BCBSNJ Facebook page at until the deadline of Sunday, July 21st.  There is no purchase necessary.  Simply clicking the "like" button at the page and following the directions will get you in the contest.

The shore house in Lavallette that one lucky family will win for a week in the Horizon BCBSNJ Back to the Boardwalk Sweepstakes (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

The winner will be announced at the end of July.  Additional entry requirements and guidelines are available at their Facebook page.

During today's press launch, the iconic Horizon Blimp was hovering overhead at the Reese Avenue beach.  The airship is devoting part of its Summer schedule to surveying and documenting the Sandy recovery process from high in the air.  Representatives from Horizon, Lavallette Mayor Walter LaCicero, local business owners and others attended the launch just a short walk from the grand prize home.

Local realtor Mathew Schlosser was instrumental at locating the home that the winner will get to stay in.  It has an impressive view of the Atlantic Ocean, the beach and boardwalk and all of the modern amenities for a fun time at the shore.

Christopher M. Lepre, Senior Vice President, Market Business Units, at Horizon BCBSNJ announces the sweepstakes in Lavallette.(Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

When Sandy came crashing ashore on October 29th, 2012, three quarters of Lavallette's mile-long boardwalk was destroyed.  Horizon BCBSNJ opted for the family-friendly borough for the prize to highlight the tremendous recovery efforts being made in shore communities all over the state that suffered similar damage.  Since last year, the company has also donated more than $1 million dollars to the Sandy recovery effort.

The announcement about the contest was made by Christopher M. Lepre, Senior Vice President, Market Business Units, at Horizon BCBSNJ.  He says "Sandy may have knocked around our beloved shore communities, but it also brought out the super strong spirit of the people of the Jersey Shore.  As the state's largest health insurer, many of our employees and members live in towns that were affected by Sandy, so our company has a personal connection to the recovery of these communities."

Listen to the Back to the Boardwalk Sweepstakes announcement

With Summer rentals being a major component of the shore tourism economy, the company feels it's a symbolic way to support the rebuilding effort that will probably be with us for the next several years.

Sign announcing the Back to the Boardwalk Sweepstakes (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)