Dragon Boat race raises money to build homes


By Sarrah Peters

Over 30 competitive and recreational teams participated in Etowah Gadsden Habitat for Humanity’s Dragon Boat Race Festival fundraiser on Aug. 16.

In the competitive division, Crossfit Rabid Red won first place with a time of 1:03.229. In second, the Athletic Club placed with a time of 1:04.798. In third, Brute/NEO had a time of 1:05.448. 

Although the scores were close in the competitive division, they were even closer in the recreational division. In the recreational division, Meadowbrook Paddlers, a team from Meadowbrook Baptist Church, won first place with a time of 1:12.372. In second, USS Gold from Gold’s Gym had a time of 1:12.689. In third, the Holy Rowers from St. James Catholic Church placed with a time of 1:13.623.

The event also gave spirit and decoration awards. Absolute Crew from Absolute Fitness won the award for best team spirit. The best decorated tent award went to the HouseboatOARS from E.C. Board Realtors. The best drummer costume was awarded to Heather Copeland from AL Alumni’s team Row Tide. 

Dragon Boat Racing has only recently become popular in the United States, although the team paddling sport has been around 2000 years in Chinese culture.

Although Habitat for Humanity has not yet figured out the exact amount raised, it anticipates $50, 000.

“We raised enough funds to build our next house,” said Suzanne Sharfenberg, president of Etowah Gadsden Habitait for Humanity’s board of directors.

Like much of Habitat for Humanity’s building work, volunteers ran the event. 

“We had great support from our volunteers. It takes a lot to run an event like this. And we are very grateful to all our sponsors,” said Sharfenberg.

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable, but sufficient homes for those in need. The not-for-profit houses typically have a $300 monthly 20-year mortgage. 

On Sept. 1, Etowah-Gadsden Habitat for Humanity is accepting housing applications. To fill out the pre-screening form go to gadsdenhabitat.com. 

For more information about donating, volunteering or applying, call 256-543-1898.

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