A dip in the chilly Choptank aids Care & Share

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan Robin Burton and Michael Wheatley felt the warmth of friendship, if not the weather, during Saturday’s Santa Swim.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Robin Burton and Michael Wheatley felt the warmth of friendship, if not the weather, during Saturday’s Santa Swim.

CAMBRIDGE – “Are you ready for a nice, refreshing dip in the Choptank River?” Dave Cannon asked the crowd in the Hyatt Resort banquet room on Sunday.

Mr. Cannon, president of the Care & Share Board of Directors, was welcoming volunteers to this year’s Santa Swim, in which volunteers raise money in return for their promise to take the plunge.

“Care & Share is a public, nonprofit 501(C)3 charity formed in June 1998 exclusively to respond to the critical needs of Dorchester County citizens that cannot be met by other public or private sources,” a statement from the group said. “We have no paid staff, so 97.2 percent of donated funds go directly to citizens in need.”

Things got started on Sunday with music courtesy of the Free and Eazy Band, and food from the Hyatt. Volunteers decked out not only in swimsuits, but also festive red caps, spoke with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus who thanked everyone for their generosity.

On Sunday morning, the air temperature was 31 degrees, and the Choptank’s water was 41 degrees. So the rule was repeated, as it is every year, that the bravest souls are allowed to remain in the river no longer than 10 minutes.

Pastor George Ames gave the benediction, mentioning how the participants understood that anyone can find himself down on his luck. “In the twinkling of an eye, we could be in those situations,” he said.

Master of Ceremonies Bruce McWilliams told the crowd that a particularly dedicated swimmer was among them. “Kay Trice has dipped in the water every year,” he said.

Information provided by Care & Share indicated that the group had provided $32,049 in assistance as of Dec. 31, 2017. This figure included $4,689 for utility assistance, $2,071 for prescriptions, and $1,402 for housing.

In addition to Mr. Cannon, members of the group’s board are Vice President Lari Caldwell, Treasurer/Secretary Stan Trice, Carolyn Corkran, Ruth Dorsey, Patricia Jones, Broderick Nutter, Michael Wheatley, Lisa Hartman, Gloria Rojas and Kathleen Rineholt.

“We gratefully acknowledge the Hyatt Regency Resort for their usual priceles inkind contributions and unflagging support,” a statement from Care & Share said. “We thank all of our sponsors and supporting donors, including Santa swimmers, for your contributions.”

Sponsors of the event were Dorchester Lodge #223, Whitten Insurance Agency, Kenneth and Deborah Thomas, Robert Dymond, Richard and Lori Nagel, Kay Trice, Frederick and Nancy Hebdon, Sandra K. Owens, Addie Eckardt, Shirlynn Shafer, Donna Robbins Era, Karen and Matt Durham, Victoria J. Stanley and Aim Transport, Inc. An anonymous donor contributed $15,000.

Donations are always accepted. The group’s address is: The Care & Share Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 1256, Cambridge, MD 21613; phone 410-901-4131; website careandsharefund.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Cannon is also employed by the Dorchester Banner.

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