OCEAN CITY – Although fundraising totals are preliminary, the 20th Annual Penguin Swim, held on New Year’s Day in Ocean City, appears to have surpassed its previous record in support of Atlantic General Hospital.
The event took place on Wednesday with 750 participants diving into the Atlantic Ocean with the water temperature being in the low 40s, as thousands spectators turned out to watch the event on a sunny and mild day.
As of Thursday the event raised about $83,000 for Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) and donations continue to come in.
“We felt that it went very well this year. We had great participation and we really appreciate the community coming out to support the hospital in our 20th Annual Penguin Swim,” said AGH Director of Development Donna Pellinger, who gave special thanks to Event Co-Chairs Sal Fasano and Madalaine How.
The top individual fundraisers this year were Craig Kettler of Leesburg, Va., raising $4,509; Butch “Woody” German of Baltimore, Md., $1,480; and Ivan Zorn of Berlin, $280.
The top teams in the Business Category were Bull on the Beach, which again amazed AGH officials by raising $30,000. AGH Flapping Flamingos raised $2,254 and Fisher’s Popcorn raised $1,200.
The top teams in the Community Groups Category were Ocean City Ravens Roost #44, who raised $9,500; the Parke Penguins raising $6,200; and Eastern Shore Police Emerald Society/OC FOOLS raising $935.
The top individual fundraisers in the 18 and Under Division were Benjamin Kettler of Leesburg, Va., who raised $500; Emily DeHart of Cherry Hill, N.J., $175; and Danny Thibodeau of Davidsonville, Md., raising $150.
The top teams in the 18-and-Under Divisions were Stephen Decatur High School, which raised $620; Team Madstin raising $245; and Team Aidan Kypress raising $150.
Prizes were also awarded for the youngest and oldest swimmers who were a 10-month-old penguin, Macklin Bitler, and an 80-year-old penguin, Papa Joe Gaffney.
The costume contest winners for Best Overall were John, Casey, Caroline and Ava Rolfes of Baltimore, Md. Most Spirited went to Dave Kelley of Alexandria, Va.; Most Creative went to Linda Hopkins of Ocean City; and Best Little Penguin was Gigi Gijanto of Delmar, Del.
Since its inception, the Penguin Swim has raised nearly $1 million for AGH. Last year there was just over $80,000 raised.
Proceeds from the event, gathered through corporate sponsorships and participant fundraising, support the strategic plans undertaken by Atlantic General Hospital to uphold their mission to improve individual and community health. AGH is a 501(c) 3 organization that was founded in May 1993 and its health network now consists of more than 25 primary care provider and specialist offices.