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Brainerd Rotary Club hosts Mississippi River paddling fundraiser

Erik Elsea of Cape Coral, Fla., intends to paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River this summer to raise funds for ShelterBox USA and was the featured guest at the Brainerd Lakes Sunrise Rotary Club meeting. Submitted Photo

A man who plans to paddle the entire Mississippi River this summer to raise funds for ShelterBox was the guest Wednesday, July 25, at the Brainerd Lakes Sunrise Rotary Club.

Funds raised from Erik Elsea's Mississippi River expedition will provide emergency shelter and supplies for families who have lost their homes in natural disaster or crisis.

Basing the distance off the famous marker at the river's headwaters, the goal of the Cape Coral, Fla., man is to raise $100 per mile of the river for a total of $255,200.

"As a Realtor, I know how important it is for people to have a home and a community," Elsea said in a news release. "By supporting ShelterBox, we can help ensure that many more families around the world will have shelter when disaster strikes."

ShelterBox provides humanitarian aid in the form of family-sized tents and essential tools to start repairing and rebuilding homes. The organization's kits and boxes contain items like cooking sets, solar lights, blankets, water filtration and activity sets for children.

Elsea began his trip July 7 with a canoe launch party hosted by the Park Rapids Rotary Club at Itasca State Park. Elsea plans to complete the distance in 90 days, with a goal to average 25 miles a day.

Follow his adventure by visiting Tax-deductible donations can be made at or by calling 941-907-6036.