On July 18, 2015 in Riverhead, NY, local corporations joined the 3rd annual Paddle Battle on the Peconic River to benefit United Way of Long Island’s Veterans Programs, including VetsBuild and the Military Family Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Paddle Battle Corporate Challenge invited corporations to participate in a recreational stand up paddle board and kayak race. The teams consisted of teams of four competitors who would transverse 2.5-miles in the amateur race, 5-miles in the competitive race and 12-miles in the elite class race. The winning team was determined by that which had the overall best combined time.
The Long Island Aquarium founded the Paddle Battle, which has traditionally attracted individuals to compete against each other. Due to the new Corporate Challenge division that was added this year, teams made up of Long Island businesses were attracted to this recreational fundraiser, making it appealing to all, no matter what skill level. The event was less focused on the race aspect, and more on enjoying a fun outing with colleagues.
The racers who took part in this event were of all ages, from youngsters to seniors. There was even a kids’ sprint category for good measure. Corporations that joined the Paddle Battle were VetsBuild, Biodex Medical, National Grid, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, QC Building, Fusion Architecture/Performance Contracting, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSEG), Pepsi and Riverhead Building Supply, who actually won the challenge and earned the bragging rights of First Place due to their dedication and skill with their kayaks and stand up paddle boards.
The winning members of Riverhead Building Supply were Teddy Barry, Sally Nemschinhick, Christopher Bagshaw and Danielle McCabe. Also, a big shout out to the VetsBuild team on their stand up paddle boards that competed in this competition and came in Second Place. The VetsBuild team consisted completely of Veterans, including United Way Board Member Nick Auletta of the US Army, Fabrizio Bustos of the US Army and a Purple Heart recipient, US Marine Ricky Panachana and Ed Miller of the US Air Force.
One paddle boarder was asked what their favorite part of the day was and they answered that it was to watch the teams finish and feel a sense of accomplishment. One of the many participants in Paddle Battle was Rick Wertheim, United Way of Long Island’s own Senior Vice President of Housing & Green Initiatives as well as creator and race organizer of this year’s Paddle Battle Corporate Challenge. Wertheim said he would like to make this spectacle an annual event, he stated that it promotes good health and team recreational activities in companies. When he was asked if he would take part in the next Paddle Battle Long Island Corporate Challenge he smiled, “Yes, I would like to take part again next year and also have a YouthBuild team alongside the VetsBuild team to give the youth an opportunity to experience the exciting sport of paddle boarding.”
This one of a kind battle also included a family barbeque with mouth-watering food and drinks, music that made you want to dance, and many more good spirited activities making the perfect ending to a day well spent.
VetsBuild is a hands-on training program for Veterans in the Green Construction industry, followed by support for job placement. United Way of Long Island’s Military Family Emergency Assistance Fund serves Veterans, post 9/11 military, reservists, personnel and their families in the areas of case management, financial aid and employment assistance.
Team Riverhead Building Supply.
Rick Wertheim, Senior Vice President of Housing & Green Initiatives at United Way of Long Island.