Featured letter

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 7:15am

Becoming a tradition

To the Editor:

Saturday morning (July 29) was not a pretty sight, but we decided to go forward with the swim, considering the better weather conditions at Andy’s Way. It was very early, 7 a.m., and volunteers trickled into the swim area, each performing a specific task to prepare for the swim.  Tents were raised; tables set up; registration areas organized; heavy baskets of food/beverage lugged down to the beach; setting up the swim course. What an amazing group, I thought, then going down to the beach I spotted Bruce Johnson and Mike Tripp setting up the exit chute and raising the Block Island flag, and I knew, now we are ready for the swim!

The third annual Great Salt Pond Swim, held on Saturday, July 29, was a great success, despite bleak weather conditions, and the strong storm blowing in from the northeast! Swimmers are a hardy bunch, and neither wind nor driving rain will keep them out of the water! Due to the extreme windy conditions close to Beane Point, the course was shortened a bit to 7/10ths of a mile for the safety of the swimmers. The safety of the swimmers was the primary concern, and without all the paddle boarders led by Jeffrey Smith, Corrie Heinz’s group of kayakers, and the boats organized by Sven Risom, this event would not have been possible. In addition, two of our swim volunteers, Mary Najmy and Joanne Bernier, were patrolling the waters with their own kayaks.  With a very deep gratitude we thank all of our waterfront volunteers !!! 

In addition to all of our waterfront patrols, this event would not exist without the incredible generosity of our sponsors, swimmers, and volunteers. Their support makes it possible to protect the Great Salt Pond by providing additional water testing in the recreational swim area, along with increasing the awareness of this great resource. Think a moment what Block Island would be like without this magnificent Pond. Hard to imagine, indeed!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: Valenti Motors; The Block Island Sports Shop (which supplied our fantastic swim caps);  Aldo’s Italian Restaurant (which supplied the amazing pizza for all our swimmers and volunteers); Lathrop Insurance; Beachcomber; Ocean Adventures; The Block Island Club; Pond and Beyond Kayak. A very special thanks goes out to our major sponsor for this event, Sullivan Sotheby’s International Realty, a company that was very instrumental in making this event a reality! Also our volunteers: Jeffrey Smith and crew; Corrie Heinz and crew, including Mary Najmy and Joanne Bernier; Jillian and Abigail Walter; all the Block Island Club volunteers; Bruce Johnson, Mike Tripp, Betsy Pyne; Lonni Todd; David Roosa; Jane Nelson, Cindy Pappas, Jean and George Taber; Barbara MacMullan; Henry DuPont, Sven Risom; Bob Greenlee; Priscilla and David Shepherd; Carl Kaufmann; Tricia Foley; Webb Moore; and Tina Wileikis. A simple thank you is not nearly enough for this group!

A special thanks to Steve Land, Mike Shea, and Rob Brown for helping us out with this event.

And of course, a huge thank you to our swimmers — all 72 of you — wow, wow, wow! We hope to see all of you again, and some of your friends next year, on July 28, 2018  for The Great Salt Pond Swim 4! 

Cheryl Moore

For the Committee for the Great Salt Pond