(Oct. 26, 2018) Anyone who’s ever been to an Ocean Pines Board of Directors meeting has probably thought at least once, “gosh, I could use a drink.”
As luck would have it, all seven board members, as well as General Manager John Bailey and several department heads, have committed to a guest bartending event at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, Friday, Nov. 2 from 6-9 p.m.
Joining Bailey and the board will be Aquatics Director Colby Phillips, Debbie Donahue from the recreation and parks department, and Marketing and Public Relations Director Denise Sawyer.
There is no cost to attend and the event is open to the public. Donations and money from raffle ticket sales will benefit the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation through the annual Penguin Swim.
“Hundreds of Penguin Swim participants brave bone-chilling ocean water each year to raise funds for free and low-cost community wellness programs that are put on by the not-for-profit community hospital,” Sawyer said. “AGH recognizes the value of prevention and outreach, which is proven in its recurring partnership with the Ocean Pines Association.
“Each year, AGH and Peninsula Regional Medical Center team up with the association to offer free health screenings to area residents and guests,” she continued. “I may not muster the courage to brave the frigid conditions at the annual Penguin Swim, but I’m willing to dive into a good ole’ fundraiser at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club. I hear it’s sink or swim behind the bar at the Yacht Club, and I think I’ll do just fine.”
Clubs Committee Chairman Gary Miller, who led the organization of the event, said he ran into Bailey over the weekend and asked him about his plans.
“He’s looking at a couple special drinks that he knows how to make,” Miller said. “So, one of the things we’re going to be pushing is, ‘be sure to try JB’s special cocktails.’”
He said both bars would be open during the event, with two guest bartenders at the main bar and one or two at the side bar, each working alongside regular staff to handle the money and any complex drink orders. Guest bartenders will rotate every 45 minutes to an hour.
Miller said raffle prizes would include gift baskets and gift cards donated by businesses in and around Ocean Pines. Tickets will be sold throughout the evening and prizes will be drawn roughly every 20 minutes, starting at 7 p.m. Ticketholders must be present to win.
“We’re also going to be selling tickets for the big end-of-year raffle that has 12 $50 gift cards to local restaurants as the first prize,” he said. “That will be pulled at the Penguin Swim on New Year’s Day and you don’t have to be present for that one.”
Miller has been organizing Penguin Swim fundraisers for about a decade. He said that started when his mother-in-law required “some pretty serious surgery at the hospital.” She was 90 years old at the time.
“We really didn’t think she was going to pull through the surgery, but she did and the people at the hospital were really fantastic,” he said.
At the same time, he had become involved in the local Ravens Roost #44 that chartered bus trips to Baltimore NFL games.
“As sometimes happens on the bus, there was some drinking and there was some talk about, ‘hey, have you ever seen this Penguin Swim thing that the hospital does?’” Miller said. “There was a challenge: ‘I’ve never done it, but if you’ll do it, I’ll do it.’ And that kind of got the ball rolling.”
The first year, maybe four or five people from the Roost formed a team for the Penguin Swim and took the proverbial plunge. The team grew every year and so did fundraising efforts, starting with simple pub-crawls and events at a local winery.
“We were just doing things that were fun, but that we could use to raise a little bit of money for the hospital,” Miller said. “Over the past nine years, we’ve raised a little more than $96,000. So, this year will put us over the $100,000 mark.
“It started off as kind of a dare and a fun thing to do, and it just kind of grew,” he added.
For more information on the Atlantic General Hospital Foundation Penguin Swim, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org/Foundation/Penguin-Swim.
To keep up with Ravens Roost #44, visit www.ocravensroost44.com.