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Oct. 19, 2018
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Pirates Charity Poker Run gives back

By Pamela A. Keene 

Don’t diss the Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run on Facebook. When someone who lives on Lake Lanier did just that on the Friday night of the 10th anniversary of the event in mid-July, within minutes boaters, participants and volunteers responded with more than 200 positive messages and a challenge. “We all saw it and replied back right away,” said Steve Thompson. “All of the comments were so positive, mentioning how fun the event is and how it raises money for the great children’s charities. 
 
“I took it a step further and responded with a challenge,” said Thompson who has participated for the past eight years, both as a boater and as a sponsor through Steve Thompson Insurance Solutions in Cumming. “I told him that he needs to come out and join the fun next year, and if he comes back to me and says he didn’t enjoy it, I would personally pay him back his registration fee. I hope he takes me up on it.” 
 
Thompson crossed over this year. “I’d been doing the Poker Run as a participant for several years, so I thought it was time to come to the other side of the dock and volunteer at a card stop.” The rookie recruited family from North Carolina and Cumming to manage the stop at Lazy Days at Holiday Marina. He transformed himself into a pirate for the day, complete with all kinds of pirate talk, dreadlocks and his own sword. 
 
“We’re from Blackbeard’s territory in Washington, NC, and the home of the Pirates of Eastern Carolina University, so we’re right at home here,” said Thompson’s sister Suzanne, who with her husband Wes Crawford and daughter Sierra Southerlin, made up half of the Lazy Days’ crew. “We’re having a great time.” 
 
Thompson’s fiancé Kristie Brightwell and her daughter Michaela rounded out the crew. “I love being out here,” Michaela said. “I babysit an autistic kid, so it means a lot to me to get involved and help out.” 
 
Right around the corner Alex Laidlaw and his crew from Holiday and Lazy Days manned the Singleton Marine service dock in Big Creek. Staff members Elvis Villatorro, Jason Thigpen and Blake Wayne, along with April Perry from Lanier Islands, showed newcomer Kyle Nicholson, 22, the ropes. His job was scouting approaching boats and letting the team know the number of cards to prepare. 
 
Thompson said it was good to see the Poker Run from another perspective. “This is always such an amazing event that brings to many people together for a good cause,” he said. “If you haven’t either participated or volunteered before, come on out. You’ll be glad you did.”

Results next month
The 10th Annual Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run took place in mid-July on Lake Lanier, with boaters from across the country. Lakeside on Lanier will report all the details, including the winners of the poker hands and contests, in our September issue. The Pirates of Lanier Poker run benefits Camp Sunshine, Camp Twin Lakes and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier. For information visit www.piratesoflanier.org.

Posted online 7/27/18
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