The town of Clendenin finally had just the right conditions to host its first-ever “Paddlefest” earlier today. Roughly 30 people grabbed their paddles and hopped in their kayaks to take on the four-mile route.
The Paddlefest stems from the annual Clendenin Homecoming Festival, a time to celebrate perseverance and progress made after the June 2016 flood, however, a time to honor one Clendenin drowning victim.
Two days prior, 17-year-old Cody McCallister went missing in the Elk River. Later that night, crews pulled his body from the water.
The Paddlefest’s proceeds were originally set to be placed into the Homecoming Festival’s fund, but proceeds will now be donated to Cody’s family to help pay for funeral expenses.
Yak House Owner and Paddlefest Organizer, Dave Knight was inclined to help anyway possible and donating the funds seemed like a great way to do just that.
“Whether you knew Cody or not, I think everyone from the Elk River was heartbroken yesterday and so hopefully we can be here and help the family heal,” said Knight.
Paddlefest participants willing to support the family all while enjoying the blue skies and sunshine.
Participant, Jennifer Wentz said, “it was just more of an opportunity to get in and help his family out and be on the water and do something we like to do and to be able to donate to his family.”
This tragedy sheds light on river safety and to be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
The Paddlefest’s proceeds totaled to roughly $600 and donations are still being accepted at Poca Bank in Clendenin.