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Paddling with a purpose:

Paddle Battle raises funds for Long Term Care renovation


Mary Koppes / Petersburg Pilot

This year's Paddle Battle will help fund the renovation of the Long Term Care shower facility. Used daily by the unit's 15 residents, the old facility is showing signs of wear and tear.

Organizers are gearing up for the second annual Paddle Battle in the Narrows to be held next Saturday, July 18.

The event is a fundraiser for the Petersburg Medical Center Foundation, and this year's proceeds will go toward renovating the shower and tub room used by residents in Long Term Care.

"The residents that live here, this is their home and it's (the shower room) not been updated in many, many years and it's showing signs of wear and tear," said Director of Nursing Jennifer Bryner.

All 15 beds in the Long Term Care unit are currently occupied, and each of those residents uses the shower facilities. Many utilize benches or chairs during their shower and require staff assistance, which necessitates a much larger space than a home shower.

Work on a smaller shower facility to be used by residents during the shower room renovation is expected to be complete by the end of October and comes with a $30,000 price tag, funded by the hospital. Funds from the Paddle Battle will contribute to the larger renovation.

Participants will help raise funds through a $20 entry fee and by getting pledges from friends and family for each mile paddled.

"Anyone who signs up, we encourage them to get pledges," said co-organizer Kaitlin DuRoss, adding that pledges can be per mile paddles or a lump-sum donation.

Paddlers are welcome to use all manner of watercraft to maneuver down the Narrows.

"Last year we had canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards," DuRoss said.

This year paddlers can choose from three different course lengths. Serious paddlers can test their endurance on the long course (14 miles), launching from Papke's Landing at 1p.m. Paddling north, they'll meet up with a second round of paddlers leaving from the Scow Bay launch. Paddlers with less time or ability can join on the final leg, launching from the South Harbor boat launch around 4 p.m.

The course ends with a picnic dinner at Sandy Beach Park.

"Everyone's invited that wants to support the paddle battle," said CEO Liz Woodyard. The hospital will provide hamburgers and hotdogs and participants are asked to bring a side dish.

The Paddle Battle fundraiser with the PMC Foundation began last year. Around 40 participants paddled in the inaugural event, raising $10,000 for new parallel bars and other equipment for the Physical Therapy Department. The Foundation is a non-profit and fundraising organization that provides scholarships, continuing education and capital equipment for the hospital.

For more information, visit the PMC business office or


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