Pelopidas team races in support of Operation Family Help

By David Jackson
With paddles up and eyes locked ahead, the Pelopidas Pow-Oar-House Dragon Boat Team followed our drummer’s rhythm as we rowed to victory in the first two heats of Signature Healthcare Foundation’s 5th Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Creve Coeur Lake, finishing 10th overall in the competition.  An ancient Chinese tradition, dragon boat racing is a team paddling sport that consists of approximately twenty people fiercely rowing to the beat of the drummer at the front of the long, narrow, canoe style boat.  After cruising to victory in the first heat of the morning, we touched up our war paint and recharged for the second race, in which we worked as a cohesive unit and shaved 9 seconds off our time to finish the 400 meter race under 2 minutes.

In what might initially sound like a leisure water sport, dragon boat racing will undoubtedly leave paddlers breathless and drained of energy after three intense races across Creve Coeur Lake.  In what is symbolic of most team activities, whether it’s in the athletic arena or corporate and government workforce, synchronized team effort and coordinated action define success at the finish line.  Despite the physical exertion, the competitive nature and philanthropic spirit of the event sends teams rushing back each year to take part in the festival and benefit the Signature Health Foundation.  Aside from the races, the festival included live music, barbeque, and fun activities for the 25 teams, friends, and families.

All proceeds of this event benefit Operation Family Help, a new Signature Healthcare Foundation initiative to assist families of patients with financial challenges by providing services such as therapy, equipment or transportation.  Signature Healthcare Foundation was founded in 2002 with a vision to “be a recognized leader in the local and national health care dialogue and spearhead physician leadership in improvements and efficiencies in the healthcare delivery system.” Signature Medical Group, its founding organization, has been a longtime lobbying client of Pelopidas in the Missouri Legislature and our organizations have actively worked together outside of government affairs over the years to benefit a variety of philanthropic causes in the St. Louis community.

Our Pelopidas team would like to thank John Marshall and the rest of Signature Healthcare Foundation for putting on a great event to benefit the community.  After a few weeks of rest and muscle relaxers, the Pelopidas Pow-Oar-House will begin training for next year’s competition!