Matt Soderquist (left in photo above), a director on Great Lakes Energy’s (GLE) People Fund Board, tackled the very first “Mighty Mac” swim across the Straits of Mackinac on Labor Day this year to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.

“The effort was a success,” GLE reports in its September Envision newsletter. Collectively, the elite group of over 80 swimmers raised $320,454 for the charity, not including a $55,000 match for a total of $375,454. Soderquist himself raised $2,825 and attributed $200 of it to GLE’s publicity of the event in Envision, and a People Fund e-newsletter linked to the co-op’s Facebook page.

“The swim was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had,” Soderquist said. ”Being next to the Mighty Mac in such a vast space of open water really puts things into perspective at how small we are and what a special place it is that we live in.

“The wind caused substantial waves and rough current,” Soderquist added. The group’s boat captain estimated seven to eight miles of swimming. “After swimming for long stretches with (my) face in the water, my mind would go into a deep meditative state and I felt like I could go on for hours—which we did!” It took just over six hours, the last two of which Soderquist and the five remaining swimmers in his group did non-stop.

“It definitely tested my physical, mental and spiritual limits and pushed me outside of my comfort zone; but as they say, ‘that’s where the magic happens.’”