(July 19, 2019) Participants in canoes, kayaks and on paddleboards can enjoy the Pocomoke River in support of suicide prevention and awareness, this Saturday, during the 11th annual Jesse’s Paddle fundraiser.

Located at the Pocomoke River Canoe Company in Snow Hill, registration for the event will begin at 4 p.m. and the event will start at 5 p.m.

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Snow Hill Town Ambassador Nick Haglich and Jessie’s Paddle event organizer Kim Klump greet the participants at the first paddle-less paddle last year.

Organized by the Friends of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, this event raises money for an annual scholarship and other programs related to its suicide prevention mission.

Worcester County resident Kim Klump established this fund in 2009 after the loss of her son, Jesse, a college-bound senior at Snow Hill High School, who took his own life.

Jesse worked for the Pocomoke River Canoe Company, so this fundraiser was deemed a perfect fit to help the cause.

“While our missions are very serious, this is a day of fun and celebration, and we expect to put more than 50 boats on the Pocomoke River,” Kim Klump, Jesse Klump Memorial Fund president, stated in a press release. Music [will be] provided by the duo, The Stims, and there will be a great silent auction, food and beverages, all for important causes.”

Contests such as the Poker Paddle, and last year’s hit, Jesse’s Cornhole Challenge, will be back again with prizes including a pontoon ride on the Pocomoke, a night stay in Ocean City, and gift cards awarded to the winners and top fund raisers. 

“Despite the fact that we’re in the suicide prevention business, which is a pretty grim subject, we have a lot of fun at the paddle and it is a good heartwarming event,” Ron Pilling, secretary and treasurer of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund, said. “Our supporters, many of them have been supporting us for 10 years or more, enjoy getting together. The fellowship is probably the single most important part of Jesse’s Paddle.”

Since its creation, this fundraising event has provided over $100,000 in annual scholarships to Snow Hill High School graduating seniors.

This year, Michael Larger was the selected graduate who received a $15,000 scholarship for his education in engineering at Salisbury University.

Other programs supported by this nonprofit include the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program, which was established in 2011 with the mission to teach community members of the lower Eastern Shore how to recognize the risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide.

As the fund grew, an additional grant opportunity became available to educators and mental health professionals that has allowed for the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund to create the “Save a Shore Farmer” campaign.

The campaign was created after the Center for Disease Control studied suicide rates based on occupation and found farmers to be three times more likely to die by suicide than the rest of the community.

“Of course, we live in a community that is heavily dependent on agriculture economically. We launched this program nearly a year ago and it turned out to be a unique program in Maryland,” Pilling said.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.saveashorefarmer.org.

Fundraising for Jesse’s Paddle can be done online at http://jessespaddle.org or through paper forms available by e-mailing weremember@jessespaddle.org or by calling 443-982-2716, either of which can also be contacted for more information on the event.

A minimum of $40 must be raised in order to have a free vessel for the event. Donations and pledges can be brought the day of the event.

All canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for Jesse’s Poker Paddle must be reserved in advance. To reserve a boat, call the Pocomoke River Canoe Company at 410-632

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