Community kids splashed into safety with the Kenai Peninsula Safe Kids Water Safety Carnival on May 8. In celebration with National Safe Kids Week and a focus on drowning prevention, community sponsors and agencies joined together and hosted a water safety event for our community kids. Attendance was great with approximately 300 people at the event, including 162 children. More than 131 kids were fitted with Mustang personal flotation devices.
This event was made possible due to the generous support and funding from Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Agrium, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, National Water Safety Congress, Krissy Mahan of AmeriCorps, National Safe Kids Campaign and Central Peninsula General Hospital. In addition, noncash donations were made by Al Gagnon and Sons Inc., Kenai Watershed Forum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Rivers Co., Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware, Jersey Subs, Kasilof Mercantile, Kenai Peninsula McDonald's and the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
Applause go to key agencies and people who put in countless hours of hard work to pull this event together: Scott Feldmann from the U.S. Coast Guard; Bill Berkhahn, Jacques Kerto and Jacque Erion of Alaska State Parks; Michelle Ostrowski of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge; Dan Pascucci from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; George and Mae Leighton of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; Gary Hale, Gordon Orth, Josh Thompson and Chief Jeff Tucker of Central Emergency Services; Dena Cunningham of Kenai Peninsula McDonald's; Krissy Mahan, Sylvana Szczesny, Mandy Groshart and Shonie Larrow, AmeriCorps members; Mary Jane Hanley and Gemma Smith of the Kenai Public Heath Department; Michelle McKay, Jay Stafford and Gary Pindras with CPGH; Tad Hoening and Corrie Stoughton from REI; Chris Lopez from Alaska Marine Safety Education Association; and Fred Sturman. Thanks to more great volunteers: Ian Tracy, Lauri Lingafelt, Sherry Spence, Jeremy Hale, Jim Lukas, Gabe Fellman, Mike Retone, Geoffrey Gerrell, Amy, Megan, Derrick Parham, Kent Viera, Marissa and Clarra Mahan, Wendi and Kati Dutcher with the Girl Scouts and anyone else I missed.
Special thanks to the Kodiak U.S. Coast Guard hc helo H-60 Jayhawk crew, Lt. David Neel, Lt. James B. Knapp, AST1 Anthony Trout and AMT2 Christopher Lamb, who provided kids and adults alike with an exciting display of the helicopter and beach rescue.
In addition, I want to recognize and thank Merrill Sikorski; Nan Misner, Scott Moon and Jenny Neyman of the Peninsula Clarion; and Bonnie Nichols, James Veo, Rhonda Price and Michael Eady who helped with media releases.
I really want to commend and applaud the parents and other caregivers who took the time to bring their children to this event. You are truly making a difference in keeping kids safer.
Central Peninsula General Hospital is the lead organization for the Kenai Peninsula Safe Kids for the central peninsula area. Its investment in our community kids is invaluable, yet as one can see, it truly takes a community like ours to come together to make our kids safer.
Many thanks to all of you!
Jane B. Fellman, R.N., Coordinator Kenai Peninsula Safe Kids for the Central Peninsula Area
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