HANNAWA FALLS - Organizers of the third annual Swim a Mile for Hospice are reporting another great success.
Swimmers took to the beach early last month at Postwood Park in Hannawa Falls to complete the one mile, non- competitive fundraiser for Hospice services in St. Lawrence County.
We drew a record 81 swimmers and raised more than $26,000, Brad Catling, director of Development and Community Relations for Hospice, said. We saw many familiar faces of swimmers who have been doing the event since it started, but were pleased to see a large group of newcomers.
It is always a very powerful day as many people are swimming to remember loved ones and are doing something positive with their grief. Combine that with the satisfaction of completing the swim and hearing the total raised for Hospice and you have some very uplifted people. The energy on the beach after the swim is amazing, he added.
Many people very hard to put on a great event, we have to rely heavily on our volunteers so it is especially touching when you see such a strong show of support from the community, according to Executive Director Brian Gardam.
Beth Gerrish and Ron Sheets helped out again to organize our flotilla of pontoon boats, kayaks and canoes who encouraged our swimmers and were ready to call for help if it was needed.
According to Mr. Gardam, swimmer safety is the top concern. Fortunately, there were no emergency rescues this year, but members of the Hannawa Falls Fire Department were patrolling the water in their rescue boat and the Potsdam Rescue Squad was ready on the beach.
Potsdam Recreation has graciously hosted the event each year at Postwood Park and Michelle Garrow has continued to help with beach organization and many other important aspects of the Swim, he said.
Swim a Mile for Hospice was generously sponsored by local businesses.
Donaldson Funeral Home came in again this year as the lead sponsor with other businesses including the Brookfield Power Foundation, First Class Aire, Smallings Motel South, Piercings by Tat2 Pauly, Save-A-Lot and Parishville Sand and Gravel, Mr. Cataling said. We were also able to offer prizes as an incentive for fundraising, which included a Hermon Miller Ave Maria wall clock donated by Richville Furniture, two round trip tickets from Ogdensburg to Boston donated by Cape Air, a Skypad Tablet supplied by the Computer Guys and dinner for two from the Canoe Place Inn. We appreciate having had the opportunity to reward our top fundraisers with such wonderful prizes, thank you to all of the businesses who supported the event this year, he said.
Mr. Gardam said the money raised at the swim will be put to use immediately to help continue to provide services to hospice patients and their families.
We focus heavily on quality of life for our patients and support for their families, which sometimes means we provide services that are not covered by insurance. Our swimmers, sponsors, volunteers and other supporters can be assured that their hard work will go immediately to helping our patients and their families, he said.
On behalf of everyone at Hospice, thank you for supporting our work and your friends and neighbors through this great event. We hope to see another great turnout Aug. 3, 2013, he added.