MARYSVILLE — J.J. Edwards doesn’t want any other mother to suffer the loss she experienced when her 10-year-old stepson, Elijah Spratt, drowned on the Stillaguamish River on June 30.
After conducting lifejacket donation drives on July 6 and 13 at Twin Rivers Park in Arlington, where her stepson went into the water, Edwards and her friend Amy Jacobson partnered with the Tulalip Cabela’s to perform lifejacket fittings and serve up a benefit barbecue in front of the store on Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday, Aug. 18.
Jacobson explained that she and Edwards are trying to enter the Evergreen State Fair Aug. 22 through Sept. 2, to reach as many people as possible with their water safety message, but they need volunteers to help man their booth during those 12 days.
“At the Stillaguamish Festival of the River, we heard so many people say, ‘Oh, my kid can swim,’” Jacobson said.
“They don’t realize that the rush of the river is a little different from still waters,” Edwards said. “I get a little emotional over it.”
Katie Sanford, marketing manager for the Tulalip Cabela’s, sees Edwards and Jacobson’s mission as dovetailing with Cabela’s own goals of supporting its stores’ surrounding communities and helping people enjoy the outdoors safely.
“We sell boats and lifejackets, and promote being on the water,” said Sanford, who joined Edwards and Jacobson in praising Snohomish County Search and Rescue and the Everett Sail & Power Squadron for aiding their efforts. “When we saw this story in the newspaper, we were really touched by it, and we’re very glad to have such great partners for such a great cause.”
Edwards and Jacobson are providing updates on their campaign at www.facebook.com/TwinRiversPark-CommunityLifeJacketShed. For more information, or if you would like to contribute, log onto www.gofundme.com/3u01ho.