For the past four years, Randy Wayne White, author of the Doc Ford novels, has started the new year off swimming with the SEALS.
Navy SEALS, that is.
The swim across Tampa Bay is a fundraiser to raise money for those brave men and women who have fought for this country. Last year, with only three weeks notice, more than 100 people gathered at Gandy Beach to swim and offer support, raising more than $30,000 for a severely injured active duty Navy SEAL.
The swim has been formally named the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim and is supported by the Navy SEAL Foundation. The 2012 Tampa Bay Frogman Swim's 5k Open Water Swim and Fundraiser will be Jan. 8. More information is at the Web site.
The swim is open to anyone who can make the swim.
Randy has been making the swim for the past three years but this year there is a wrinkle in his plans.
Randy tore his rotator cuff and can't do the actual swim. But he will be there as a safety volunteer.
In an email, he mentioned that he was not happy to have to forgo the swim but wants to support the fund-raiser.
"Warm this year so an easy swim, damn. I'll bring box of books to sign for those who donate!" he wrote.
I was on the beach when Randy made his first swim with the SEALS. I was there to interview him for a cover story for Mystery Scene. My husband and I waited on the beach on Tampa Bay on what was one of the coldest mornings as the swimmers came ashore. (The photo was taken by my husband, Bill Hirschman). (The interview ran in the Winter 2010 Issue, No. 113.)
It was an amazing sight and no could help but be moved by watching these hearty men and women come ashore, freezing, but happy and knowing they had just raised money for a SEAL who had been disabled fighting for our country.
In the Mystery Scene profile, Randy discussed his volunteer work and I hope the story gave readers a different view of this author. His latest book Chasing Midnight, his 19th novel about Doc Ford, a marine biologist and former government op who lives on Florida’s Sanibel Island, will be published in March.
Happy New Year to all our readers. The entire Mystery Scene staff is grateful to each of our readers;
And best of luck to those who are making the swim and those, such as Randy Wayne White, who are there as safety volunteers.