It was a celebration of all things Asian when a group of Gainesville District employees representing Jackson EMC gathered at the 2012 Dragon Boat Festival held on Lake Lanier. The festival is one of a series of events held around the world to promote the sport of dragon boating and build bridges of cultural awareness between Asian and local communities by emphasizing artisanship, teamwork and competition.
Jeremy Adams, journeyman lineman and team captain, along with his Oakwood colleagues, first got the idea to take part in the race from Doug Smith, Lake Lanier Canoe Kayak Club president and Gainesville District engineering supervisor.
Competing against some of the best teams in the country, the linemen finished 1st in the men’s open division and 4th overall. More importantly, they enjoyed the fun, fellowship and learning about other cultures with their families and friends, including their sister team they’d met the previous year and remained in contact with.
“It was something we could all do together, away from the office, just family and friends,” said Adams. “The event in its 17th year was an amazing sight to see, with the regatta featuring ceremonies, shows, children’s events and vendors. It was family fun, unique and the best cultural event in our area, steeped in Chinese custom and tradition.”
The team went home with a division victory, but Adams said the win wasn’t the most satisfying part of the experience. “The best thing was just to be able to get everyone together, without the ordinary pressures of the job,” he said. “Normally when this group is all together, we’re facing inclement weather, power outages or something like that.”
Each team consisted of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steersman. The 2012 Jackson EMC Gainesville District Dragon Boat team included: Journeyman Linemen Jeremy Adams (Captain) and Craig Etris (Drummer), Servicemen Phil Strickland and Michael Metcalf, and Lineman Chris Hammond, Jeremy Gee, Wayne Connell, Kevin Grant, Junior Martinez, Kevin Cash, Jason McElwaney, Derrick Brinkley, Paul Eckstein, Paul’s son Ridge Eckstein, Ridge’s friend Colby Swindall, Jose Salgado, Matt Tolar, Scotty Tompkins, Scotty’s son Austin Tompkins, John Kesting, John’s son Eli Kesting, Tony Tatum and Tony’s son Austin Tatum.