Published in The Laconia Daily Sun
BEDFORD — The third annual Swim With a Mission event raised over $1 million for the National Navy SEAL Museum and other Veterans services in New Hampshire. The series of events took place in July, culminating with the annual swim competition and military demonstrations on Newfound Lake. This year’s events featured 30 Navy SEALs, active and retired, most who serve or served with SEAL Team 6. The SEALs were led by retired Command Master Chief Rick Kaiser and Vice Admiral Bob Harward.
Phil Taub, co-founder and chairman of the board, said, “We are humbled to have so many of America’s most accomplished warriors make the trip with their families to New Hampshire. We are already planning and working on next year’s events.”
Events included a paint shoot, with 20 companies raising over $400,000 to participate in the ultimate team building day at OSG Paintball in Center Barnstead. Kelly Ayotte, former U.S. Senator and SWAM board member, said, “OSG told us that this is the most successful fundraiser in the history of paintball tournaments and it couldn’t be for a better cause than to support our Veterans.” Whiskey and Whiskers was hosted by the Ladd Farm in Bristol, and showcased the skills of the SEALs’ canines and their handlers. The VIP Reception was a night with SEALs and their families hosted, by Meadow Wind in Hebron, raising over $350,000. Swim With a Mission at Wellington State park saw 264 swimmers swim across Newfound Lake, and raised over $100,000.
Julie Taub, co-founder, said, “It takes so many volunteers to make three days of events successful and we are so grateful for the hundreds of volunteers that put in so many hours.”
Money raised will go toward purchasing 17 elite support dogs for Veterans, starting a new equine therapy program in the Lakes Region, support for Veterans struggling with PTS and TMI, providing vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables for New Hampshire Veterans, scholarships for children of Veterans who died in service, helping Veterans find jobs, supporting Veterans who seek to create art to help with PTS or as a new profession, and more. Swim with a Mission supports the National UDT-Navy SEAL Museum, including its K9 program and Trident House charities; Veterans Count of the Lakes Region; Children of the Fallen Patriots; Elite Meet; CreatiVets; WarPaints; Vouchers for Veterans; and a new Equine Immersion Program at Ladd farm.
Joe Graham, president of iHeartMedia New Hampshire, said, “We are very proud of the fundraising efforts this year, especially as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Veteran’s Day this November. Veteran Organizations can submit their application and questions for 2020 financial support at our website www.swimwithamission.org.”