Well the rain on Christmas melted the lake so the Fire Department didn’t need to cut the ice, and the staging area for the plunge shifted to the center of the beach as the snowmobile highway has been delayed for a short-term thaw. The lack of ice was not an issue after Peter Michael Marino invited two children from the audience to dump two bags of the cold stuff donated by Hoss’s Country Corner into the lake to give the plungers more of an “authentic” polar experience and “break the ice” with the crowd.
It felt like a beach day and odd to wear bulky snow boots on the sand while the fire roared. Carol Inserra owner of the Adirondack Hotel, “I never felt cold! That was a terrific idea to have the fire pit.”
Plungers traveled near and far and some make it an annual tradition. Some as far as Virginia and Pennsylvania because they so believe in the mission of the Wounded Warrior Project. Here are the stats and the wrap up.
The Feelin’ Long Lake Polar Bear Plunge to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project raised $4796 by 43 plungers/18 teams.
Winners for the Most Funds Raised by a Team was Team Kickerville raising $1430 with Cecilia Poulin, Bridget Bradley, Cara Lewis, Esther Rider
Winner for the Most Funds Raised by an Individual was Kat Forsell (also Raquette Lake Winter Events Coordinator) raising $215.
Winner for Best Costume – Go! Go! Grinch featuring Kyle Duffy, Tim Mallery, Judy Duffy
Honorable Mention to Team Duty Calls featuring Stacy Pagoda & Kelsie Adams sporting Long Lake Highway and Parks and Recreation Cardboard Trucks featuring “Chip and Opie”
On the spot fundraising for Peter Michael Marino to plunge raised $505.
On a personal note, it truly is wonderful to be able to work with our great Long Lake community to stage events like this. People are creative and brave and really love to put on a show, from the participants to the volunteers. We educated the audience about the Wounded Warrior Project #wwpinc and their 19 programs for vets. The purpose of the Wounded Warrior Project is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. It was a great way to let people know.
Thanks to our terrific panel of judges: Tim Touchette, Retired Army Engineer and owner of the Shamrock Motel & Cottages, Jim Bateman, the Long Lake Assessor, retired Navy, and Joel Deloria, retired Marine, having completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can find Joel enjoying the outdoors, exploring the Adirondacks, guiding, hunting fishing and working at the Owls Head Pub.
A shout out to the Long Lake Fire Department for donning their rubber duck suits (leaks and all) and swimming out to the ice shelf, quite a distance away from the beach, just because they could and it made for impressive photos. The department had just returned yesterday morning from a mutual aid call to cover the Tupper Lake station while Tupper Lake FD assisted at a structure fire in Saranac Lake.
Thanks to our volunteers, Marie Johnson, owner and operator of The Lodge (formerly Long View Lodge – and official name to be announced soon!) Michelle Donnelly of Donnelly’s Sunset Point and Shear Images and Barbara Gachowski of Tupper Lake. Also shout out to the Long Lake Rescue Squad, Pat Benton, Chuck Taylor and Virginia Jennings. Not only do they ensure that plungers are healthy enough to plunge, they’ve actually helped discover medical conditions some our plungers wouldn’t have even known they had and are now seeking additional medical treatment. Thank you to them for their excellent care!
Thanks to the Long Lakers who may not plunge, but who come out to shout, cheer and donate money to the Wounded Warrior Project and make our event a success.
Next year we will be moving the date of the plunge to most likely, Saturday, January 2, 2016 (which means ONE WEEK LATER) So get your teams together and plan your vacation and strategies ahead of time!