GAMBIER — The Gambier and Mount Vernon communities came out to offer a helping hand Sunday at the Kenyon Athletic Center. Spearheaded by Samantha Williams, a member of the Mount Vernon High School swim team, “Swim the Smiths Home” was organized to help raise funds for the Pete Smith family who is still in Kearney, Neb., following an RV accident on July 10.
With daughter Abbey being on the MVHS swim team, son Will on a YMCA swim team and father Pete being the athletic director at Kenyon College and a former swimcoach, “We thought this would be an appropriate means to have a fundraiser and help them out,” said Amy Williams, assistant athletic director at Kenyon College.
A swim-a-thon with pledges was conducted at the same time as a pool festival with many games and activities for those not wanting to swim laps. Included in this was a greased watermelon contest where teams would retrieve a greased watermelon and attempt to move it past an opposing team into a goal.
“We calculated that we needed to complete 60 swimming miles in order to get Pete, Linda, Will and Abbey home from Kearney, Neb.,” said Williams. “The total distance logged was 86.3 miles, so this far exceeded the 60 miles necessary.”
Other financial assistance combined with the pledges collected totaled $8,200, according to Williams. Over $400 of this was donated by local bakers from the community who conducted a bake sale.
“It was a very successful day,” said Williams of the event. Between 30 and 40 volunteers from Kenyon College and the community helped make the event possible, and as many as 50 swimmers participated in the swim-a-thon. Also attending were members of Linda Smith’s family who came from the Toledo/Wauseon areas to participate in the event.
A benefit fund to help the Smith family with their expenses has been set up at Peoples Bank in Gambier. All proceeds from Sunday’s activities will go directly toward this fund.