BERLIN – Residents at Diakonia last week were treated to a rotisserie chicken dinner courtesy of Swim Ocean City, a local nonprofit.
But founder Corey Davis said Tuesday’s donation was just one of the organization’s many efforts to support local charities and families.
“I really want to give back to the community that helped me in my time of need,” he said.
After a motorcycle accident in 2007 left him with a traumatic brain injury, Davis worked diligently with the team from Johns Hopkins Brain and Stroke Rehabilitation Program to return to his previously active lifestyle. And in the years since his accident, he has competed in triathlons and long-distance swimming events.
“It’s been a long road,” he said, “but it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been through.”
But Davis never forgot the program that helped him. In 2011, he founded Swim Ocean City – a nonprofit that raises funds for research and awareness of traumatic brain injuries and promotes the positive effects that sports have on the brain and body – and in July of 2013 he held the first annual Ocean Games, a series of races that raises money for the Johns Hopkins Brain and Stroke Rehabilitation Program.
“The first year we had a one-mile swim, a three-mile swim and a nine-mile swim and there were almost 250 people,” he said.
With a team of friends and community members by his side, Davis continues to host the annual event, albeit on a smaller scale. Since its debut in 2013, the Ocean Games has raised more than $130,000 for the Johns Hopkins program and local charities.
“The first year all the money went to Hopkins,” he said. “The second year a majority of it went to Hopkins. The third year is when I started divvying it up a little more.”
Davis said money raised from the Ocean Games has supported Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, the John H. “Jack” Burbage Jr. Regional Cancer Care Center and, most recently, Diakonia, a nonprofit that provides housing and support services.
“So many people locally helped me through the whole recovery process …,” he said. “I thought I could also help some people that needed it.”
Last Tuesday, Davis ordered 15 rotisserie chickens from Food Lion in West Ocean City and delivered them to Diakonia. He said he hopes to continue supporting local charities and families in need through the Ocean Games events.
“I want to let the people know our efforts have been more local recently,” he said.
Davis noted that support from event sponsors and participants allow the nonprofit to continue its giving mission year-round. He said individuals can still sign up for this year’s Ocean Games.
“It really is a grassroots organization that helps the community,” he said.
This year’s event will take place on July 20 and will feature three- and nine-mile open water swims, as well as a three-person team nine-mile relay.