To the editor
We want to thank the people of Captiva who shared their island and their generosity in support of the Galloway Captiva Triathlon and its charity, CCMI, Sept. 14-15. Thanks to the generosity of our participants and sponsors, we were able to raise $20,000 for CCMI this year - $5,000 over our goal and last year's donation or $15,000.
Although it is an early morning event on the quietest month of the year, we still closed Captiva Drive for two hours no mean feat. But it seemed as though the Captivans who were in town were either out cheering for the athletes as they rode by or joined them as participants or volunteers. Approximately 900 athletes ranging in age from 6 to 75 were able to enjoy the paradise that is Captiva.
We appreciate the folks in the Santiva area who were inconvenienced by our short detour to help people navigate turning around before the closed bridge at Blind Pass.
The thank yous only begin there. First, we want to thank our island sponsors: Robert Galloway of the Galloway Family of Dealerships, the entire crew at the new Doc Ford's restaurant, the hard-working staff and managers at South Seas Island Resort, Billy's Bike Shop, Tween Waters Inn, Jensen's Twin Palms Marina, Jensen's on the Gulf, Bank of the Island, All Star Vacation Homes, RC Otters/Key Lime Bistro, and R.S. Walsh Landscaping.
Thanks to our off-island sponsors: Jason Gunter, Lee Memorial Health Systems, Jason's Deli , Geared Up Multisport Specialists, Lee County Sports Development, Trek Bicycles, The News-Press Media Group, Florida Weekly, LCEC, Edison National Bank, and Publix.
We had nearly 100 volunteers, many of them from the islands. We want to thank all of them, but in particular we want to thank Jim Griffith, Dan Moser, Randy Johnson, Maria Deleon and Kim Bocelli. We also want to thank all the Geared Up team volunteers and the Caloosa Riders volunteers who helped man the bike course.
Safety is our number one concern in a race. Lee County Sheriff's Office's Deputy Mike Sawicki and Lt. Jeff Corkhill were our lead contacts and went above and beyond the call of duty working with other agencies and people on the island. In addition we want to thank Alise Flanjack and her lifeguards from Lee County Parks and Rec; Deputy Chief Scott Tuttle and Lee County EMS; and Chief Rich Dickerson and the Captiva Fire Department. Agencies assisting the Lee County Sheriff's Office Traffic and Marine Unit included the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sheriff's Department Dive Team, Sheriff's Office VOICE Volunteers, the Fort Myers Police Department, the Cape Coral Police Department, the Sanibel Police Department and the Sanibel Fire Department.
The reasons for people participating are myriad, but a big one is support for CCMI - Community Cooperative Ministries Inc. CCMI is an innovative nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of social service entrepreneurs fighting to end homelessness and hunger in our community. The agency provides more than 14,000 meals each month through their Everyday Caf and Marketplace and Home Delivered Meals programs. CCMI also educates 40 children in their Community Montessori, offers homeless and comprehensive case management services through their United Way Resource House and oversees an emergency mobile food pantry.
Specifically, the Galloway Captiva Tri this year supported CCMI's Backpack Program, which is currently feeding more than 1,750 students at schools in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.
In the hardest hit areas of Lee County, as many as 97 percent of children are on free or reduced lunch. Most of these children are going without any food from the time they leave school on Friday until they return on Monday, as well as during school holidays. CCMI established school backpack programs in many local schools in conjunction with community service organizations in order to get food directly into the hands of the children. (They have also established a School Food Pantry at Bonita Springs Elementary.)
Thanks to all, and we'll see you next year the 2014 Captiva Tri will be held on Sept. 13-14.
Kate Gooderham, Angie Ferguson, Ken Gooderham
Galloway Captiva Tri race directors/organizers