Joe Lemke

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Goal $1,000.00


HI everyone!

Well its that time of the year again, the time when the nights get a little shorter, the surf starts picking up a bit and everyone starts calling me insane for paddling around Manhattan. Yup, if you made it this far then you know that its time for me to dive into the East River and begin my 25 mile journey around NY, always with amazing friends and optimistic spirits.

If you have followed me along my journeys, then you would know that this is not the first time I have done this, nor my second. This will proudly be my 4TH time doing this mad race, and every year I keep thinking that I may not be coming back the following year. BUT there is always something that keeps calling me back, and I promise it is not the toxicity of the Hudson that has my brain skewed, but it goes deeper than any amount of pain or suffering that I may incur in this race.

A few years ago, I began working at Jackson Memorial High School as a Special Education Para, or a One-on-One with an amazing student of mine, Dakota! I did not know it then, but he began to change my life. Dakota, or DJ DC as he would prefer it, has Cerebral Palsy, a spinal disorder that affects his mental and physical capabilities, but that does not stop him! Day after day, DC would roll into school with a huge smile on, some sort of DJ or Deadpool t-shirt, and preceeds to greet me with a loud "Good morning Mr. Lemke!" He doesnt know it, but I look forward to that greeting everyday.

We have had some really fun adventures this past year, one being Halloween when I asked him who he wanted to be. My question was answered immediately, Chewbaca! I laughed and agreed that would be a great costume, but he had to have to voice down. WIthout hesitation a loud shreek came from his voice in the attempt of Chewys famous yell, and although we needed work, I felt it would be the perfect costume for him! Needless to say he bacame the talk of the school with his amazing costume, and even made it into the schools year book! And yes, his chewy voice was loud and scary haha

For the majority of the day, Dakota is in his wheelchair, but when we went to Jenks boardwalk for a class trip, we found out quickly that his chair does not roll on the sand well. Most of the other kids had ran up to the waters edge while DC and I had to sit back and wait, but I wasnt letting his wheelchair hinder his time at the beach. I asked if he wanted to jump on my back so that I would carry him down to the water with his friends, and with a huge smile he said yes. I must admit, it was a lot harder than I thought since Dakota is much taller than me when he fully stands up, but the laughs that came soon after was worth the struggle. He even found it hysterical when I asked for one of the studentst to take a picture of us by the water, and as our backs were turned, a massive surge came up and soaked the majority of my legs, filling my shoes with sand. To this day I think of that time at the beach when I see those shoes and how I spent the rest of the day with them wet and soggy. 

We are battled with such hardships in life, but some have it harder than others and still go on day to day with a smile on their face. This race is for you Dakota. When its get painful and seems impossible to continue, I will think of the fun times we had this year!

So, if you see me out in the Hudson, paddling by myself near dark and laughing hysterically, dont be alarmed, I am probably OK

Cheers everyone, thanks for the support!

Joe aka Mr. Lemke


  • Susan & Sean (about a week ago)

    Way to go Joe! God bless.

  • Janice (about 2 weeks ago)

    You are amazing Joe. Good luck!

  • East2WestMFG (about 2 weeks ago)

    From the Best to the Best . Paddle Hard!!

  • Mom&Dad (about 2 weeks ago)

    Very proud of you as always. Your dedication and loyalty is to be admired.

  • Kristin (about 2 weeks ago)

    Good luck big brother ! Your the biggest inspiration. paddle your ass off! love you !

  • Alex (about 2 weeks ago)

    Here we go again! Love the man of many, yet no ferencz

  • Kathleen (about 2 weeks ago)

    Happy paddling Joseph

  • Vic (about 2 weeks ago)

    Doof man!! So much love for ya! Xo

  • Julie (about 2 weeks ago)

    Your the best!

  • Daniel (about 2 weeks ago)

    This was for Alex but he raised 1000 already so I'm giving it to you to so goodluck Alex on Doofs page!

  • Daniel (about 2 weeks ago)

    Let's go! Good luck Doof hammer time!

  • Dave (about 2 weeks ago)

    Say Hi to your Dad.

  • The (about 2 weeks ago)

    no one is better than YOU!

  • Kenny (about 2 weeks ago)

    That's awesome Joe!

My Status
Number of pledges received: 16
Goal achievement: 105%
Number of page visits: 149
Days since event: 14

Event Information
What: 2017 SEAPaddleNYC
When: Saturday August 5, 2017 at 09:00 AM

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Overall Event Goal: $200,000

Top 5 Fundraisers

Rank Name Amount
#1 Edmonds Bafford $60,144.00
#2 jack schlossberg $7,400.00
#3 Christopher Russo $5,445.90
#4 Matt Mark $4,805.00
#5 George Stemetzki $4,295.00

Top 5 Teams

Rank Team Name Amount
#1 Slow Motion Ninjas $8,060.00
#2 South Shore Paddleboards $6,590.00
#3 TEAM REPEAT $6,376.09
#4 Key West PerSisters $3,626.00
#5 Team LUNA $3,270.00