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Terry Gates' Fundraiser:

Terry Gates

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Terry Gates


TOTAL RAISED TO DATE (including entry fee): $

Phone: 616-240-2410

After surviving a car accident in 2005 that could have terminated my life, I was searching for something significant to celebrate being alive. As a life-long swimmer and living on a lake to train, I contacted Jim Dreyer to explore swimming across Lake Michigan to promote mentoring. He asked if I was interested in swimming the Straits of Mackinac in 2007 and, of course I was, becoming one of the 50 swimmers to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mackinac Bridge. All the proceeds went to Mentor Michigan, which was my passion having mentored five boys over the previous 13 years. After the bridge swim, Jim invited any of the 50 swimmers to swim along with him while he attempted to swim 50 miles himself and I was the only one of the swimmers to come back. Instead of swimming, I ended up being a boat captain for Jim. It was while alone in a dingy for five hours, providing support for him below the bridge, that I decided to quit my job as the Owner/President of a sign company after 25 years and pursue a way to impact youth, eventually becoming the Mentor Coordinator for Kentwood Middle Schools. In 2010, my son Chris, challenged me to do a sprint triathlon with him, which I did. The following year, I challenged him to do an Ironman with me, which we completed together in 2013. His training partner and friend, Evan Cusak, also completed the Ironman with us and now Chris, Evan, and I are swimming the Straits together in 2015. Currently, I am impacting youth as the National Sales Manager for WriteSteps, a writing curriculum for elementary schools. I have volunteered for several Habitat for Humanity homes and support the cause wholeheartedly.



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