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Leap for Literacy

Teams jump in lake during fundraiser

POSTED: February 27, 2013 4:00 a.m.
David Renner Dawson Community News/

Brian Burke takes a running dive off the dock and into Lake Lanier during Saturday’s Leap for Literacy. The event raises money for WEE Books.

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Dawson County residents didn't let 40-degree weather or stormy skies dampen their spirits for a good cause Saturday as WEE Books held its third annual Leap for Literacy.

According to organizers, the fundraiser at War Hill Park has grown more successful each year.

"We did a few dollars better than we did last year," said Bob Inman. "This year we ended up raising a little over $4,000 for WEE Books."

The program strives to put age-appropriate books in the hands of children from infants to age 4.

Saturday, 11 teams took the plunge into Lake Lanier They included two solo acts, Barry Mayes and Brian Burke.

"Back when my kids were in school here, we did PTA, Boy Scouts, that kind of stuff," Mayes said. "Both my kids are out of school now and my youngest just moved out yesterday.

"I wanted to stay active in the community and this is the first event I saw in the paper, so I decided to come down and do it. Plus I'm training for the Tough Mudder, which benefits the Wounded

Warrior Project and I figured this would be a good test."

Mayes added that he plans on looking for future community events to take part in.

Burke said he jumped the first year because he knows Jane Graves, whose husband Lionel is president of WEE Books, through Rotary.

"I know what WEE Books does in the community," Burke said. "Studies show that when you expose young people to books, they are much better off when they are older."

While Burke was jumping alone this year, he did show support for the Interact Club, the Rotary Club's high school arm, whose members also jumped this year.

"Literacy is a big thing in Rotary Club, as well," he said. "We have a scholarship that Rotary gives to high school students each year, so this event hopefully is the genesis of that."

Interact is Rotary's service club for ages 12 to 18. Sponsored by individual clubs, which provide support and guidance, Interact groups are self-governing and self-supporting.

This year's Interact team had a special guest jumper, Maj. Tony Wooten of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm with Rotary and one of the sponsors of the Interact Club," Wooten said. "I told them if we raised the money, I would jump in full uniform. There were four kids that were willing to jump in the lake, so I did it with them."

Wooten didn't completely cross future jumps off of his list.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought," he said. "I think the anticipation was worse than the actual water - except for the initial shock of ‘where did my breath go' and ‘why can't I feel my hands?' Other than that, it's fun."

Judges Christie Haynes, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, Jan Whetstone of Jan's Family Daycare and Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan observed the jumps and gave out awards.

The Interact Club team received the Best Leaping award. Most Creative went to KISSing Illiteracy Goodbye, the Dawson County High School team.

The honor for the Highest Sponsorship Team went to Robinson Elementary's Three Blind Mice team, who raised $750, while Best Leaper went to Mayes.

 

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