Feb. 19, 2014. Dr. Glenn Paige, anesthesiologist and triathlete took part in the 5th annual Tampa Bay Frogman Swim to raise money for ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families. This year’s event raised more than $250,000 with more than 150 participants and equal numbers of kayakers.
Dr. Paige himself raised almost $10,000 by soliciting donations from his friends and community members.
“This event is near and dear to my heart,” said Paige. “The Navy SEALs and their families sacrifice so much to keep us safe. The amount of money I was able to raise showed me that our community doesn’t take that for granted.”
Dr. Paige became involved in the event four years ago. He was energized by the effort to build national awareness of the Naval Special Warfare Community. He was the recipient of the Captain Norm Ott Leadership Service Award last year for his efforts with the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim and NAVY SEAL Foundation.
The event actually started over a cup of coffee. Sam Farnam, a senior at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, dreamed of being a SEAL. But as any veteran of the U.S. Navy’s elite Special Forces unit will tell you, to make muster, you must conquer cold water. So Terry Tomlin, the outdoors fitness editor for the St. Petersburg Times, suggested the 17-year-old accompany him on a swim across Tampa Bay.
That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off in the head of Commander Dan O’Shea USNR. O’Shea, a former SEAL who had been mentoring Farnan since the boy was 10-years-old suggested they turn the New Year’s swim into a fundraiser for a SEAL officer who has recently been wounded in Afghanistan.
O’Shea enlisted the help of Lt. Mark Lampman, an active duty SEAL and together the four organized the first Tampa Bay Frogman Swim. Conditions were harsh, the water temperature hovered in the 50s but nearly 40 swimmers managed to make it across the bay and raise thousands of dollars for the injured SEAL officer, Lt. Dan Cnossen and his family.
After the success of the 2010 event, former SEAL and swim coach Rory O’Connor assumed the role of race director. Then, along with traithlete/swimmer Kurt Ott, son of the legendary SEAL Norm Ott, webmaster Doug Santo, another SEAL veteran and the volunteer coordinator Annie Okerlin, they put together a successful follow up to the inaugural event.
Since that time, the event has evolved into a 3.1 mile open water swim with more than 150 swimmers and has raised more than $250,000 this past year for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Of every dollar donated, 95 cents went directly to support services or was retained for future mission use.
While few people have the fitness level and drive to swim a 3.1 mile race through open and cold sea water, our community can rally behind these soldiers, the Navy SEALs and their families, so that no man is left behind.
Frye Regional Medical Center has been providing advanced medical services to the people living in Hickory and central western North Carolina for more than 100 years. Offering specialized care for complex needs, Frye provides quality treatment through a convenient network of hospital and outpatient locations.
FRMC is truly a regional health center, offering preventative medicine, general medicine and specialty services from Boone to Lincolnton. Frye also supports the local community, donating millions in charity care and paying millions in local taxes each year.
FRMC has receivd many awards for its commitment to quality care, including the Gold Performance Achievement Award in Cardiac Care and Silver Quality Achievement in Stroke Care from the American Heart Association, a Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, Blue Distinction Center Designation for Quality and Efficiency and most recently the Women’s Choice Award for Excellence in Orthopedics. To learn more about health services at Frye, visit www.fryemedctr.com.