Fund raiser makes a splash
Area residents helped raise funds for a good cause Saturday and got a shot at winning cash prizes.
The 911 River Rally, held at Sun Splash Family Waterpark for the second year, served as a fund-raiser for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Communications Training Team. People purchased tiny plastic ducks for $2 each or three for $5, which were later released on the Lazy River. The first three to cross the line earned their owners a cash prize.
The laziest duck – the last one to finish the race – also earned its purchaser a cash prize.
“This is really easy, simple, fun,” Cindy Dunaway, a training officer and telecommunicator with the LCSO’s 911 team, said. “And kids like it.”
She explained that the agency has had no funds for training in over four years and the event enables them to raise the money needed to send staffers to advanced communications training and classes. Last year, the group sold 500 to 700 ducks and raised $1,500. Organizers estimated that about 800 ducks in total were sold for this year’s event.
“Today has been unbelievable,” Dunaway said Saturday of the sales. “Today has been great.”
North Fort Myers resident Bill Flynn stopped by the water park just to participate in the fund-raiser.
“It was a nice thing to do,” he said. “The economy is bad, and they’re in need of money.”
Flynn planned to root for the six ducks that he bought.
“I think it’ll be funny,” he said of the race.
Unfortunately, Flynn’s ducks were not the winners – nor the last to cross the finish line.
The $200 first place prize went to Kelly Olson. Second place, which came with $125, was awarded to Darren Hower, while a duck bought by Stephanie Eller took third winning the LCSO sergeant $75. Annette Summerall’s duck was the last one to bring in the rear, earning Summerall $50, which she donated to the agency’s cause.
“She’s awesome,” Dunaway said of Summerall. “That is wonderful.”
Cape resident Tony Lioce also bought a couple of ducks Saturday with his son, Alex, 8.
“We knew it was a fund-raiser, and we’re all about fund-raisers,” Lioce said.
They expressed excitement about the race and getting to spend some extra time at the park.
“We just figured we’d be extending our fun time a little more,” Lioce said.
The race was held at 5 p.m., just after the park’s regular closing time.
“We’re going to root for our ducks,” he added.
Sue Rauch, a communications coordinator assistant with the LCSO, was working one sales booth. She said people had various reasons for purchasing ducks, including because their children wanted to participate in the race.
“And a lot of them have just been giving us donations,” Rauch said.