CHATHAM — On Monday, the April Fools of Chatham Fire Department and their legions of friends will be taking their annual frigid dip in Nantucket Sound for a worthy cause.
The event, taking place on April 2 instead of April Fools Day to avoid conflicts with Easter, invites the public to get a serious jump on the 2018 swimming season by dashing into the icy waves for a quick swim. Participants and spectators are asked to donate funds.
Each year, the April Fools raise money for a different local individual or family in need, usually to ease the financial burden of an illness or injury. And each year the swim attracts more and more participants, raising more money.
“In nine years of publicly advertising the swim, nearly $116,000 has been raised for local families,” said Chatham Firefighter Justin Tavano, who organizes the swim with colleague Gerard Smith. “Aside from the financial assistance, the huge crowd generates an enormous emotional boost for the recipient and his or her family. It is truly a testament to the resolve of our local community, and it exemplifies the importance of everyone looking out for each other,” he said.
On Monday, April 2 at 4 p.m., the Fools will gather at Harding’s Beach to swim for the family of Neville Coomber, who died suddenly last April at the age of 47 while working at his job as a chef at Eastward Ho! Country Club. Mr. Coomber met his wife Megan while working at Eastward Ho!, and the two have three children ranging in age from 11 to 17. Mr. Coomber lived in Harwich most of his life, graduating from Harwich High School in 1987.
“Please come out and help us celebrate Neville’s life and offer some emotional and financial support to Megan and the children,” Tavano wrote in a news release. “One hundred percent of your donations go directly to the Coomber family to assist them in any way they see fit.”
Organizers are planning for the biggest swim in the event’s history, and invite people to bring donations of any amount to the event. A free post-swim barbecue will take place at the Chatham VFW immediately after the swim. To contribute without taking part, bring cash or checks to the April Fools, Chatham Fire Department, 135 Depot Rd., Chatham, MA 02633. For more information, call 508-945-2324.