How the Antigua rowers’ donation is having a ripple effect towards charity

ABSAR vehicle (file photos)
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By Elesha George

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Head of the Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR), Johnathan Cornelius is welcoming the financial assistance from the Rotary Club of Antigua Sundown.

Last week, Team Antigua Pairs — Joseph Nunes and Travis Weste — donated the proceeds that they raised through their participation in the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to the Rotary Club of Antigua (RCA) Sundown. This was done through the sale of T-shirts and Rash Guards, along with donations from kind sponsors.

Random acts of kindness, even the smallest of them are said to have a bigger effect on the lives of people and that is exactly what happened when the two rowers donated the money they raised from their campaign to the club.

The RCA Sundown said it received US $10,305 from the pair, who rowed 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic to raise funds for the charity organisation.

In turn, the club is using those funds to assist ABSAR with purchasing equipment and to support local projects.

Cornelius, however, told Observer what ABSAR needs most is funds to maintain their boats and more people to volunteer with the organisation.

He said one of the two boats owned by ABSAR is out of commission because of years of wear and tear.

Cornelius said that funding during the pandemic is nearly impossible as persons are understandably focused on the immediate needs of their families and themselves in order to survive.

He insists however that the lack of funding will not stop the organisation from supporting security agencies on the island.

President of RCA Sundown, Julian Wilkins told Observer that both Nunes and Weste approached the charity wanting to donate the funds they would have raised by participating in the hallmark event.

The men also proposed the idea to donate some of those funds to the ABSAR – a voluntary organisation that helps save lives in Antigua and Barbuda and the waters surrounding it.

In addition to assisting ABSAR, the club will also focus on local community projects.

Wilkins said the RCA Sundown will help to install hand washing stations at various enterprises similar to their drive last year which saw 17 to 18 schools receiving hand washing basins.

It took Nunes and Weste 47 days, 6 hours, and 57 minutes to row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour, Antigua during the 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Like ABSAR, the club noted that in its efforts to give back to society, it has been a challenge to get funds because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wilkins told Observer that its members have tried to be creative in order to raise funds like replacing its Signature fete in December to organise a telethon.

“We got local artistes and regional artistes to do recordings and some live performances as well and we were able to raise funds for the telethon and we raised over EC $20,000,” he explained. He is encouraging individuals and businesses to continue making donations to the Team Antigua Pairs fund as it is still open to receive funds.

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