With wedding delayed by pandemic, couple’s honeymoon will be ducky
Kiernan Cournoyer just won Rotary’s Ducky Wucky River Race and its grand prize of dinner for two anywhere in the world. Where is the National Guardsman planning to travel?
“Due to the pandemic, we have had to push our wedding out until next year, so it’s nice to be able to use this trip as a miniature honeymoon” said Kiernan who just moved into a new home in Framingham. “As for where my fiance and I are going to go, we haven't quite decided yet. In keeping up with the trend of 2020, life has been a bit hectic lately which hasn't given us much time to think.”
Cournoyer and his finance have time to settle on a destination knowing airfare for two, a hotel room for two nights, and dinner are covered by the grand prize. Many winners in the race’s 25-year history have extended their trip at their own expense while traveling to such locations as France, South Africa, Japan and Australia.
The annual Ducky Wucky River Race, the premier fundraiser of the Ayer Rotary Club, was held Saturday, August 29th, on a day made for ducks as “fowl” weather swept across the region. The race is traditionally held on the Saturday of Mother's Day Weekend, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
In buying a ticket, Cournoyer had adopted the rubber duck that led the field of more than 6,500 ducks. The first 29 rubber duckies across the finish line scored prizes for their ticket holders, and results are available at duckywucky.org.
As with Cournoyer’s wedding plans, many charity fundraising events were also disrupted by the pandemic. The Rotary Club, which serves Ayer, Harvard, Shirley and Devens, decided the postponed race would be safe to conduct by limiting the number of volunteer race officials and requesting fans stay home. The club sold tickets online and through partner organizations searching for a new revenue stream after their own fundraisers were disrupted.
“The Ducky Wucky River Race is our signature, annual fundraiser that helps support the services we are able to provide to meet local needs. With the pandemic, our fundraiser became a way we could also serve our fellow charitable organizations by giving them a way to raise funds while we did the work of holding the event. We are so incredibly grateful to every person who supported our fundraiser and to our ticket partners who are birds of a feather in community service,” said the Rev. Phil Goff, the 2020-2021 President of the Ayer Rotary Club.
The club will use the net proceeds to support many causes, such as food pantries, high school scholarships, youth sports programs, ramps for housebound individuals, dictionaries for third graders, support for local fire and police departments, and international relief efforts.
Cournoyer bought his ticket through Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit organization on Devens serving the needs of the region’s veterans. Clear Path was one of seven ticket partners, including the Westford Rotary Club, The Friends of the Harvard Council On Aging, Rotary Club of Dracut, Rotary Club of Fitchburg, Rotary Club of Leominster and the Rotary Club of Merrimack Valley.
"The pandemic has caused a lot of nonprofits to struggle with fundraising, and the chance to safely raise funds for our organization by partnering on a fun and world-famous charitable event is a win-win," said Donna Bulger of Clear Path for Veterans New England.
As a service member, Cournoyer was drawn to support Clear Path and was shocked when he received the congratulatory call from Bulger.
“I like to be aware of the resources I have available to me and resources I'm able to recommend to other local soldiers. It's also really nice to know that when you donate to an organization like Clear Path that the funding is going to service members, veterans and their families in your neighboring communities, Cournoyer said. “We are so grateful to Clear Path and the Rotary for such a generous prize.”
The Rotary Club is also grateful to the 11 corporate sponsors for their generosity, and the Devens Department of Public Works for providing the duck launcher (a front-end loader). The event sponsors include:
Ayer Moving and Storage
The Bull Run
Main Street Bank
Reese’s Travel Adventures
Robert C. Alario Certified Public Accountants P.C.
Thomas E. Sears Insurance Agency, Inc.
True North Hotel Group