Rotary’s Swim-A-Thon on March 1 was a resounding success with fire departments in Lakewood and Rocky River benefiting.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River, and organized by Rocky River resident and Rotarian Harlan Radford, the event exceeded its $14,000 goal by over 23%, with $17,252 being raised. The additional funds raised will be utilized by both departments to acquire more needed equipment.

Surrounded by firefighters at the Swim-A-Thon with Rotary presenting its contribution are (from left) Rocky River Mayor Pamela Bobst, Rocky River Fire Chief Aaron Lenart, Lakewood Fire Chief Timothy Dunphy, Lakewood Mayor Meghan George, Rotary Club of Lakewood & Rocky River President Marjorie Corrigan, and Swim-A-Thon event organizer and Rotarian Harlan Radford.

Radford was able to arrange for Lakewood to obtain two commercial grade fitness ClimbMills at dealer cost. The savings will allow Lakewood Chief Timothy Dunphy funding toward the purchase of a third unit, enabling all three Lakewood fire stations to have their identical equipment.

Devices like the ClimbMill have been identified by the state fire marshal and the Lakewood Committee on Public Safety as an important piece of apparatus for fitness and training purposes. As Lakewood has numerous high-rise buildings, firefighters must have the strength and the endurance to carry heavy equipment into these buildings in intense heat.

Rocky River Chief Aaron Lenart’s department will receive a sauna decontamination system, with remaining funds used to acquire a ClimbMill identical to Lakewood's.

The infrared sauna, with moderate exertion from riding the bicycle in the unit, promotes sweating, which is believed to be an effective way to remove toxins (particularly metals) from the body. While located at the fire station, the sauna is expected to be available to fire and safety personnel within the community.

The event at the Rocky River Recreation Center saw 24 Rotarians volunteering or donating, 20 student swimmers participating from four high schools, over 40 firefighters and fire department personnel were in attendance. Four volunteers from the Rocky River Recreation Department helped with set-up and eight student volunteers from three area high schools served as lifeguards or registered participants.

Four organizations and 99 individuals made contributions.

The Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River donated $5,000 and the Lakewood-Rocky River Sunrise Rotary Club, $500. An over-sized check from Rotary was presented to the chiefs and mayors of both cities.

There was a water rescue demonstration using a boat by the Lakewood fire department. Information tables were set up and staffed by Rotary, the Rocky River Recreation Department, and personnel from both departments.