While the Resort and its family members support many area charities, the NASWA has chosen several special causes for the focus of its charitable donations of time, money and FUN-d raising events. Easter Seals, Isaiah’s Ark and The Laconia Fire Department Life Saving Fund have a history with the NAZ, built on respect, relationships—and a lot of love.
“We are grateful for the popularity the NASWA enjoys and wanted to work with an organization that serves more than just our neighborhood. We wanted the benefits to extend across the State of New Hampshire and also across age and demographic lines,” states Cynthia Makris, GM, who serves on the Board for Easter Seals. Since Easter Seals (www.eastersealsnh.org) helps people through the whole life cycle, with a broad range of services for everyone from disadvantaged children to veterans, to adults with disabilities and the elderly, it offered the perfect match for the NASWA family and its family of guests.
The Land & Lake Poker Run presented by HK Powersports has been an event that not only raises money, but raises the summer fun level for Laconia since 2000! Boaters, bikers, drivers, kayakers—even canoe and personal watercraft enthusiasts—all join in to make the multi-faceted run an important date on event calendars. While locals look forward to the annual run, many tourists plan their vacations around it. The Poker Run has various routes and pick up points, depending on the vehicle or vessel which also helps make the event “weather-proof.” Poker Chips are picked up en-route and turned in at the NASWA Resort where the Poker Run ends and the party starts!
“The NASWA Resort has been a major sponsor since the beginning and it is fortunate for us to have THE place to go on the Lake involved!” says Christine Hardy, Director of Events & Corporate Relations, “The Poker Run, dedicated in memory of Peter Makris and Mike Whalley (recently deceased and much admired statesman for the state of NH as well as the owner of HK Powersports ) has raised well over $400,000 and we’re hoping to make it a half million this year! Thanks to the money raised from the Poker Run, we have been able to expand our services and really make a difference,” she adds.
When Barry Uicker decided to help families with children fighting cancer at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD, www.dhmc.org), he thought about his own concept of the perfect day on the Lake—which included going to the NASWA Resort for lunch. He bought a 29’ Rinker Captiva that could easily provide small groups with a comfortable, safe and fun experience of Lake Winnipesaukee and named it Isaiah’s Ark (www.isaiahsark.org). As he looked for support, he found Silver Sands Marina—his starting point--and warmth, generosity and a welcome dock at the NAZ. There Cynthia Makris and her staff come to greet the families who visit as part of their “day away” from the hospital and enjoy a hearty lunch, a specially-created, personal gift bag, use of the paddle boats and the family hospitality that makes the NASWA a favorite spot. “Cynthia and her staff really provide the ‘Red Carpet’ treatment and go overboard making everyone feel at home—they even learn the kids’ names and ages,” says Uicker, “It’s so important for these families to spend some time together out of the hospital and often, people don’t want to leave there—it’s such a fun place to be!”
Uicker notes that he didn’t have to “sell” the Makris family, they understood the importance of what he hoped to accomplish with the escape from the daily hospital routine. “We are so grateful for our family’s health,” says Cynthia Makris, “It is heart-warming to provide families who are fighting disease and trying to be strong for each other, a place where they can lay that weight to rest for a while and enjoy the magic of playing on the Lake. We try to make them feel at home and a part of our family,” she added.
Peter Makris was influential in the establishment of the Laconia Fire Department Life Saving Fund, years ago when the need for a safety and rescue boat was demonstrated by the tragic loss of veteran firefighter Mark Miller. The community rallied around Makris’ initial generous donation and to this day, the division is totally funded through publicly donated money. The Peter Makris Memorial Ride and Run began after his death to commemorate his generosity and to continue the efforts of the Laconia Fire Department and the Life Saving Fund. Over $150,000 has been raised by this memorial boat ride and bike event which takes place during Laconia Motorcycle Week and enables the community to follow the NASWA Resort’s lead in providing for the safety of those who enjoy the beauty and recreational amenities of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Click here to learn more about the Easter Seals NH "Veteran's Count" Program which this run benefits.
Learn more here about this annual event, and download your registration form!