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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 5 years ago

And the rowing continues

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The Halifax Rowing Association’s adaptive rowing program was pre-approved for a grant, which should keep the program alive for another year.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

The last time I wrote about the Halifax Rowing Association’s adaptive rowing program, back in October, its future was uncertain. But now, things are looking up.

The Halifax Rowing Association’s Vision Impaired Rowing Society and Adaptive Rowers on Water program has been pre-approved for a grant from the Chatlos Foundation, which could get finalized in February, helping to keep the program open and active for another year.

The Chatlos Foundation is the same group that gave the program its initial funding, a $2,500 check, which was enough to keep the program running for 10 weeks.

The program was able to stay afloat (pun so intended) between November and now, but this grant, if approved by the Chatlos Foundation board, offers the program, and its rowers, some security.

And that’s good, because they have bigger things to focus on right now. The adaptive rowers are currently training to compete in the Southern Sprints, which will be their first competition.

While working on the October article, I spent two mornings with the rowers and their coaches. I was quickly taken by their commitment. They practice at 7 a.m., twice a week, for two hours.

Since I wrote the article, I’ve exchanged a few emails with Ronn Bell, the coach who first brought the group to my attention, and I couldn't have been happier when I heard the Chatlos Foundation was coming through, once again.

And that was for two reasons. First, of course, I was happy to hear that these rowers still have a home. And second, selfishly, I was happy because I was waiting for another opportunity to write about the program.

Looking back at the past four months and change that we've been producing this paper, we've been lucky enough to feature some pretty amazing people in the sports section. But the rowers really stand out to me.

More than any other moment since I’ve been covering sports and news in Ormond Beach, when I sat in that boathouse those two mornings, I knew I was witnessing something I needed to write about.

It was a great feeling, and I’m honored they welcomed me in. So row on, rowers. You deserve it.

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