By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The 8th annual Get Out Girl Surf & Paddle Jam brought record numbers to Lake Austin the last weekend of September by raising thousands for mental wellness for first responders.
Over 60 women attended Surf Jam with ten sponsored wake surf boats and over 140 in Paddle Jam.
“Our goal was to raise $40,000 + $4413 (Jessica’s badge number),” said Cindy Present, event founder and coordinator. “We broke $45,500.”
The event honors the legacies of Jessica Hollis, a Travis County Sheriff’s Office senior deputy, and Kristin McLain, a StarFlight nurse, who both lost their lives serving the local community within six months of each other, September 18, 2014, and April 27, 2015 respectively.
“Approximately half of our attendees were front-line workers, first responders, nurses and/or military,” Present said.
Women and girls of all ages participate in the Surf & Paddle Jam, many who sponsored registrations for female first responders, nurses and military to attend at no fee. Men serve and assist as volunteers throughout the two-day event.
Austin Lake Patrol and Austin Fire Department also supported the event on the water in addition to a dozen other boats, personal watercraft and volunteers, while StarFlight, provided a flyover from the starting area at the Steiner Ranch Lake Club to Jessica Hollis Park and back through the canyons of Lake Austin.
Funds raised during the Get Out Girl PaddleJam help provide first responders with experiences, retreats, outings and more that help encourage mental wellness.
“It was an amazing weekend at Get Out Girl Surf & Paddle Jam,” Present said.
Next year’s event is scheduled for the last weekend in September as well.