OCEAN CITY – Preliminary totals from this year’s Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) Penguin Swim forecast another successful New Year’s fundraiser.
As of Thursday, the hospital has netted a preliminary total of $89,000 from participant and donor contributions, according to Sarah Yonker, marketing director for AGH.
Officials with the Penguin Swim are still counting ongoing donations for last Sunday’s event, but said final counts will be made available in the upcoming days.
“We are still tallying the total raised and a few more donations typically filter in during the first week of January,” she said.
The mild weather played a key role on Sunday as droves of participants plunged into the chilly ocean waters for the 23rd annual
Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) Penguin Swim, according to Joy Stokes, event coordinator and development assistant with the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded water temperatures in the low 40s by 1 p.m. Sunday as hundreds of swimmers donned their costumes and bare skin and ran into the water at 91st Street.
“We are thrilled to have had such beautiful weather on New Year’s Day,” Stokes said. “The turnout of participants, spectators and volunteers was tremendous and the energy was contagious when the horn sounded.”
Approximately 729 swimmers and 46 teams registered with AGH, as well as 150 registered swimmers with Bull on the Beach, welcomed the New Year by braving the elements.
Over the last 23 years, hospital officials reported the Bull on the Beach and owner, known as “the Emperor Penguin,” has raised nearly $600,000 for the annual event, and raised more than $30,000 this year alone, an amount which makes up almost half of the event’s $76,000 goal.
Officials with the hospital said they will use the money to support free and low-cost community wellness programs, such as health fairs, flu shots, clinics and more.
“The funds raised by participants and donors are key to help support programs and services provided by Atlantic General Hospital,” Stokes said.
Those still interested in donating, can visit www.aghpenguinswim.org and click “Donate.”
Fundraising and costume winners listed in order of award sequence are as followed:
Bull on the Beach (Ocean City): $31,215.00
Poppin’ Penguins (Ocean City): $2,202.47
Jetseal (Bel Air, Md.): $250
OC Ravens Roost 44 (Berlin): $13,485
PrengaPenguins (Berlin): $1,175
It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.): $1,046
Team Parker (Gaithersberg, Md.): $500
Team Cylc (Snow Hill): $388
O’Jettskis (Ocean City): $325
Craig Kettler (Leesburg, Va.): $5,150
“Woody” Butch German (Baltimore): $2,191
Liliana Franklin (Berlin): $1,100
Nicholas Franklin, Age 18 (Berlin), $1,100
Max Ewancio, Age 15 (Berlin), $640
Samantha Ewancio, Age 18 (Berlin), $590
Oldest and Youngest Penguins
Papa Joe Gaffney (Selbyville), 83 years and 10 months
Hazel Long (Berlin), 8 months and 23 days
Best Overall: Butch Lorditch as “King Neptune”
Most Spirited: The Rolfes Family as “Clowns in Pajamas”
Most Creative: Mike Schlegel – Shark Eating Kid
Best Little Penguin: Jay Kettler as “Clark Kent/Superman”
Best Team/Group Costume: McKenna Schlegel, Sienna Pearce and Keera Pearce as “Winter Princesses”