‘Polar Plunge’ raises more than $8,000
While the number of jumpers was down significantly from last year for the Voyageur Lions Club’s annual “Polar Plunge,” the 20 participants who leapt into the icy waters of Sand Bay on New Year’s Day still managed to raise more than $8,000.
“It would have been nice to have more jumpers but we’re really happy with how it went,” Lion Bill Michl said following yesterday’s event.
“But this year, every participant raised at least $100,” Michl said.
“We had some good quality fundraisers on board.”
One of those was eight-year-old Hallee Nugent, who not only jumped for the second-straight year but also captured the title of top individual fundraiser once again, bringing in $712.50.
Her nine-year-old brother, Logan, participated this year for his first time. Together, they raised $1,000 in support of World Vision and to help change the lives of families in countries where poverty and injustice are prominent.
Logan Nugent said he plans to purchase goats, chicken, and bunnies for needy families with his share of the money while his sister still was deciding how her dollars would be spent.
Both described the icy jump as “cold,” and aren’t sure whether they’ll participate again next year.
Then again, Hallee Nugent had said the same thing after last January’s event. And while her parents indicated she was hesitant about signing up this year, she wanted to prove she was braver than her brother.
The second- and third-place individual fundraisers were Christine Carrie ($494.27) and Richard Ottertail ($385.75), who both raised money for Special Olympics.
Meghan Spooner actually took the plunge on behalf of them and the organization.
Meanwhile, the top group fundraiser was the Muskie Sports Association’s girls’ hockey team, who brought in $1,780.
However, of the 18 team members, only five of them took part—Hailey Clendenning, Sam McKinnon, Katie Sinclair, Shilo Beck, and Claire Sandelovich.
For being the top fundraisers, their team will keep 75 percent of its earnings.
All other fundraisers will receive 50 percent for their respective charities, with the rest going to the Voyageur Lions Club.
Also participating were Chase and Chelsea Badiuk, who jumped on behalf of the Sunset Country Squash Club and together raised $240.
In addition, Aurora Hutton brought in $315 for the International Falls Skating Club while Maureen Hahkala garnered $225 for the Rainy River District Festival of the Performing Arts.
Jumping on behalf of the Emo and District Lions Club were Stewart Firth, Kent Ogden, Joanne Ogden, Riley Strom, and Dennis Ogilvie, who together brought in $2,151.
Michl, Wayne Lundstrom, and Dale Gill, meanwhile, raised $1,500 for the Voyageur Lions Club.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” admitted Joanne Ogden, who’s husband, Kent, jumped for a third time yesterday.
“I will do it again next year,” she added. “It’s for a good cause.
“It really helps out the district.”
“I thought it was going to be catastrophic but it was actually quite pleasant,” echoed Firth, who claimed he was the oldest jumper this year.
“I would recommend it to anyone.”
Firth noted it’s cold waiting to jump in, but then the water is warm.
“It’s when you climb out that you start to freeze up again,” he explained.
There were plenty of prizes again this year, including an iPod, an iPod shuffle, an electronic talking globe from Lowery’s, a backpack with school supplies, and gifts from Canadian Tire and Leon’s.
Prizes contributed by Diana’s Needle Art Embroidery for the best costumes were presented to Chelsea Badiuk, who dressed up as a Tootsie Roll, Hahkala who donned an alien costume, and Hallee Nugent for her Hawaiian attire.
Michl noted in an effort to encourage more jumpers next year, the club is working on adding more incentives for individuals.
“We’re very thankful for all our sponsors,” he stressed, also acknowledging Brian Harris, who provided the sound system, and Johnathan Price, the new on-air personality at 93.1 The Border who took on the emcee duties.
This marked the first year the event not spearheaded by Val and Jim Martindale, who recently moved to British Columbia.
The pair always had been a big part of the “Polar Plunge” since its inception in 2001.
“They are certainly missed,” Michl said.
“But we’re going to keep on going with it and hopefully have more jumpers next year,” he added.