CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Several events regionally and nationally were canceled due to COVID-19, but the annual “Splash on the Lake,” hosted by the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, went on with limitations. Raevyn Love was one of those who participated.
“It was good, I love it,” Love said.
Love was one of 14 members who are part "Elite Unit," an elite unit with the sheriff's office. The event was in its second year at Oak Grove Lake Park.
Cheering Love on was her mother, Dian Love. She said she was concerned the “Splash at the Lake" would have been suspended.
“Everything else has been canceled so I thought this might be too,” Dian said. “Everything they do for all the kids, I'm just thankful they were able to do this again this year because we enjoyed it so much last year."
The sheriff’s office told News 3 there were adjustments made to conform with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
"We're looking forward to putting all our energy into this event and just to let you know,” Maj. David Rosado with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, explained, “We're following all the CDC guidelines, keeping everyone safe with the social distancing and wearing masks."
Each participant received a mask courtesy of the City of Chesapeake. People’s temperatures were taken with a laser-pointed thermometer, and COVID-19 release forms were signed by everyone there.
The "Elite Unit" is comprised of those who are disabled and handicap and it teaches them team-building, self-defense, among other skills. Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan started the program in September 2019.
"There was no way we could cancel it because of the 'Elite Unit,’” Maj. Chris Pascal, also with the sheriff’s office, said. “This is something that means just as much to them as it does to us."
The equipment was provided by Virginia Beach Adaptive Watersports.
"We think that participating in water sports really elevates the quality for everyone,” Ed Bein, President of Virginia Beach Adaptive Watersports, said.
They provided floating tubes, life vests, and even a sit-ski which is a compact seat attached to a waterski. The sit-ski was pulled by a boat.
"And it just expands the opportunities for them and so the value of being in the water, being in the sun, the camaraderie of water skiing,” Bein said. “We believe everybody should have the opportunity to participate in that."
Throughout the event, Dian Love said she hopes other law enforcement departments catch on to the event and have similar events of their own.
"If they saw what the sheriff's department did, other communities and other places might want to do more,” Dian said.