The Southeastern Swim Club (SSC) has already started its summer season as a big winner. The team hosted its first swim meet on May 3rd at HSE High School as part of a service project. This particular meet, titled Vernon Manor Super Splash, represented a huge success by giving back to the community. “The Vernon Manor Super Splash not only served as a great meet for our team but also as a worthy service project for all of us,” says Steve Reising, board member of SSC and announcer of swim meets. “This was a wonderful opportunity to help out with a great cause.”
Vernon Manor Children’s Home, located in Wabash, IN serves as a nursing home for children ranging from newborns to young adults with severe physical and mental disabilities. This facility has recently dedicated and remodeled a room to function as a library. Both residents and their guests will be able to utilize this media room. The staff at Vernon Manor is hoping to fill the room with books. Reising adds, “They will take used books as long as they are in decent shape. They can be children or adult oriented and any books will do. In addition, we are assisting them with bookcases and other library type furniture.”
“The goal for Southeastern Swim Club (SSC) was to donate over 500 books to Vernon Manor and it is just unbelievable how so many people have contributed so far,” says Dan Johnson, founder and board member of SSC. Johnson came up with the idea to start this charitable event after recently visiting this facility. Dan and his wife, Kaylee, have a special connected to Vernon Manor. After having been blessed with twin girls (Kalor and Kenli) in 1998, Kalor needed special care. Fortunately, they were introduced to Vernon Manor and the amazing staff whom took care of Kalor during this difficult time.
“Andy Peterson, who is one of the twins’ Godfathers, came up with this plan to collect books about a week before the first swim meet. We hurried to put the word out to swimmers, parents, and others within this club. It’s amazing how so many people embraced this idea without even knowing the special connection. I think it speaks volumes (accidental pun) about the support in this community that all this happened in just nine days,” Johnson says with a chuckle as he realized he blurted out a befitting pun.
During the Vernon Manor Super Splash meet, SSC collected cash donations and library furnishings. In addition, over 2,411 books have been donated which significantly exceeds the original goal of 500.
Though Kalor passed away when she was four and one-half years old, she left behind a brother Luke (now a junior on HSE High School Swim Team) and her twin sister, Kenli (now an eighth grader at Riverside Jr. High). Kenli and Luke have been empowering others as they reach out to make a difference.
Kenli explains, “Although I remember very little about the time I was able to spend with my sister, Kalor, I do remember always visiting a happy place. Each year we try to give back to them and the many families still there.”
Johnson explains that although the loss of their daughter/sister is still painful, he and his family feel indebted to help support Vernon Manor—a home where nurturing energy is still needed for all the young patients.
He says, “We may not have Kalor anymore but there are still a lot of children and families that need our love and support.”
If you would like to make a monetary donation, call (260) 563-8438 or visit www.exceptionallivingcenters.com website. If you would like more information about the Southeastern Swim Team visit www.southeasternswim.org.