Combined with excellent weather yesterday, which pretty much guarantees a great boating day on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, 74 registered boats of all shapes and sizes joined Big Thunder Marine, Wake Effects, Dog Days and several other establishments around the lake to form an incredible event in appreciation for the men and women who serve and have served this country.
Big Thunder Marine’s Ed Champion (left) and Jeremy Anderson (right) presented a check to Jon Jerome of H.E.R.O.E.S. Care on Friday afternoon during the 13th annual Support Our Troops Fun Run. Photos by Clint Schaffnit/Big Thunder Marine
Organized primarily by the prominent Lake of the Ozarks dealership’s team of Ed Champion, Monica Gust and Clint Schaffnit, this year’s Support Our Troops Fun Run brought in 35 military members for a day on a performance boat along with a hefty $31,745 donation to the longtime charity of the annual happening, H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, the Fenton, Mo.-based program that “provides support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and post-deployment.”
“The whole day turned out amazing—it was such a positive event,” said Jeremy Anderson, general manager of Big Thunder Marine, which recently opened a South Florida location (read the story). “We had a great turnout and a super cool group of troops that joined the run. They were all drone pilots based at Whiteman Air Force Base. The best part was that after the registration donations were totaled and Ed presented the check for $19,745 to Jon Jerome of H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, I told the guy who had the best hand from the card pull that if he donated the $1,000 he won that Big Thunder would match him. He didn’t hesitate and the other two winners donated their money back, too. Then the guys from Poly-Lift decided to match Big Thunder’s $3,000 donation, which was awesome since they have been supporters of this event from day one, and a few other people donated $1,000 each, including Chris Wager of WIA Marine Insurance. That was really incredible.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the Support Our Troops Fun Run.
“I think the troops truly appreciated the day on the water and the patriotic support that our participants displayed,” he added. “It was cool to see so many different types of boats show up. We had everything from tri-toons to a few canopied Outerlimits, including Doc Janssen’s 53-foot V-bottom, Burton Kirsten’s 46-foot catamaran and Jim Schultz’s Factory Billet 43-foot V-bottom.”
Anderson thanked Big Thunder Marine customers Brandon Thornton and Tosha Shaw, who hosted Jerome for the day in their 38-foot center console from Statement Marine powered by triple Mercury Racing 400R engines.
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