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March 22, 2006

Over a hundred people showed up for the Premier of Nomads and Jackson Kayak Promo Video at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House in DC to benefit Emily and Jessie’s projects in Uganda. The evening started at 5pm for the volunteers for set-up. Colin Kemp the Valley Mill Boat Shop commander in chief, Monique and Jim of brought in T-Shirts that Monique made that have a photo of Emily in action on the front and on the back with a “NO mosquito” symbol. Jana Crouse, once the master of all things social at Adventure Schools (my DC kayak school) and still quite involved with fun things in DC and abroad, got together and took care of many logistical items for the event. Her friend Cindy helped out too by getting us into the Cinema and Drafthouse.

Then at 6pm the kayakers, friends, and family showed up. I was surprised not only to see the Simon family (my cousins and Aunt Jackie) but they surprised us with very generous donations. My cousin Kirk who is a quadriplegic from a biking accident, and was once a kayaking buddy of mine was there with his dog helper Pilgrim. Kirk Simon, proved that although physically disabled since 1989, felt that he could help the “less fortunate” and was another major contributor. My cousin Mark and his daughter Jenna were there too and made a huge impact on the success of the evening. Aunt Jackie, a lady everyone should get a chance to meet and have in depth conversations with about just about anything related to human rights and other important issues, was our single biggest donor.

After some food, beer, soft drinks, wine, whatever, and great conversations with many long time friends, Dane and I presented a slide show from Africa and then Jessie Stone showed up after a long drive from New York and a detour into Alexandria (looking for the Alexandria Cinema and Draft House which is quite hard to find since there isn’t one). We put Nomads on at that point and then Jessie and Emily did a Q+A for a while.

Then we did the big raffle, giving away over 50 gifts, including a $200 certificate to Valley Mill Boat Shop. Each Ticket was $20 and between those and the T-Shirts by Monique, Emily raised nearly $3000!

Finally, we put on the Jackson Kayak promo video to wrap things up and it was the first showing ever in DC. We eventually got kicked out at 9pm.

Emily announced that the $3000 was a landmark, because the school house she wanted to build, and the commitment she made to the school in January when we were there would be fulfilled. There were two more large school rooms that need re-furbished, and she committed to raising the money to do it, and she Did!

She was in tears as she made the announcement and I was as proud as a father could be. Emily was also using the extra $1000 towards her commitment to Jessie to cover the Doctors salary for the year in her clinic. Emily will surely get that job done as well, as she seems to take this quite seriously.

🙂 EJ



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AJ and Jeff

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Cindy, Emily, Kristine, Dane, EJ, Colin, Monique, and Jim

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Kristin – world silver medalist in 2005

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Monique and the shirt she made

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my cousins Kirk and Mark