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Water Warrior takes on Great Lake for Special Olympics

Bryan Rollison, with his kids Danica and Aidan, prepares for the Water Warriors event last year. Photos provided (click for larger version)
June 05, 2013 - When Water Warriors takes on Lake Huron later this month, Clarkston-area residents Roxanne and Bryan Rollison will be there.

This is the second year Bryan took to the water on the back of a jet ski to conquer the sometimes stormy waters of the Great Lake for a good cause.

"Thunder Bay was rough," he said. "There were some 25 mph winds head on with 6-8 feet rollers it took an hour and a half to go half a mile."

Roxanne, 1987 graduate of Clarkston High School, will stay on shore with the land support group both worked hard to raise at least $1,500 for Water Warriors, which supports Special Olympics.

"We got into it because we wanted to help special Olympics, and I thought this would be a fun way to do it," Bryan said. "To see joy on the athletes' faces, to see them compete, out there battling like professional athletes, that's why we do it. Special Olympians are amazing people."

Along the way, the warriors provide activities for Special Olympic athletes such as rides on the jet skis.

"Port Austin is a big stop for the athletes," he said. "They really look forward to that."

The Rollisons, who live in Waterford, use their vacation time and take along their children, Danica, Aidan, and Preston Rollison, and Nicole Buchmann.

"It's exciting the team work is pretty amazing," Roxanne said. "Everybody knows what to do and when to do it. It's pretty amazing."

"It's a lot of fun, with the camaraderie that everybody shows," said Bryan, who serves as co-vice chairman on the Water Warriors Board of Directors. "It's breathtaking, the overwhelming support everyone offers."

Cmmunities along the 250-mile ride from Mackinac to St. Clair offer their support, with police escorts, meals, and donations.

"There's always a goal of $100,000 in a year this year, I think we're going to do it," he said.

For more information, check Somi.org or home.comcast.net/~rachuk/waterwarriors/Events.htm. Water Warriors hosts a membership meeting, 7:30 p.m., June 20, at the New Baltimore VFW email waterwarriors.mackinaw ride@gmail.com.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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