When it comes to New Years resolutions, “getting more exercise” is typically at the top of most people’s lists, but for more than 300 brave souls, Jan. 1, 2010, gave them an opportunity to exercise a little differently. The 14th Annual Leo Brady Exercise Like the Eskimos saw 315 participants courageously leap into the frigid ocean at Bethany Beach this New Year’s Day – 45 more than last year.
The event, hosted by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, raises money for scholarships for high school students, and again this year didn’t disappoint in doing so. In the past years, money raised has been in the thousands.
“We’re really trying to get more students involved,” explained the Chamber’s membership director, Carrie Subity. “After all, it all goes back to them.”
Indeed, this year marked the first time that the Chamber added an Iceberg Trophy – the prize awarded to the largest teams – for the top student team.
“As the kids learn about it,” said Subity, “we expect their involvement to get bigger and bigger. We want kids to come out, representing their sport teams and school clubs, making signs and encouraging each other.”
A number of students from Indian River High School took the plunge this New Year’s Day, with support from Maj. Frank Ryman, who heads the school’s Junior ROTC program and wrapped up the school’s first cross-country season as head coach this past fall.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to get involved with the community,” he said. “We have a lot of kids coming out, and I think the interest will bring even more next year.”
This year’s splash was dedicated to Leo Brady, founder of the event and someone known as a generous individual in the community. Although he passed away early last year, those closest to him were excited to see the tradition, which he began nearly 15 years ago, carry on.
“It’s really nice to see this still going,” said his daughter, Michelle. “My father was very big in the community, and he wanted to make sure people had the opportunities he did. That’s the most important thing about this event. It has always been for the schools and community, and it’s a good, charitable fundraiser. People have done very well with it, and it’s great to see to continuing.
“There’s a great turnout this year, and a lot of people made the extra effort to come out,” she added. “It really says a lot about the people in this community, and a lot for my dad.”
“It’s really nice to have all these people carry on this tradition,” added Michelle’s brother, K.C. Brady. “Our father really did a lot, and I think the participation shows it.”
Emergency personnel were on hand, just in case, as people took to the beach and readied for the countdown to the usual rush into – and out of – the Atlantic Ocean. Kayakers held up signs, counting down each of the last five minutes until the clock struck high noon last Friday. The final sign, which read “GO” was held backwards, in a comical commemoration of Leo Brady, who accidentally held the sign backwards in a previous Exercise Like the Eskimos.
“It was really a great turnout this year,” said Andy Cripps, executive director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. “We had a lot of people come out and the weather held up pretty nicely. We hope to see a lot more people in the years to come.”