Normally wintery temperatures would keep citizens off the beach and out the ice-cold river, but not when there is money to be raised and fun to be had. Melrose United Methodist Church held their annual Polar Bear Plunge at Lewisetta Beach on Saturday, March 4. The proceeds from the plunge were split between the Melrose United Methodist Church Mission Trip Fund, Callao Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) and the Callao Volunteer Rescue Squad.
The Melrose Mission Trip Fund received 50 percent of the funds, while the CVFD and the Callao Volunteer Rescue Squad received 25 percent respectively. Participants were able to obtain sponsors and donate those funds to another church if they wished. In this case, 25 percent of the money an individual raised went to the church they specified. Plungers could fundraise as an individual or as a team once they registered and received their packet ahead of Saturday’s event.
Over a dozen participants lined up on the beach at noon. A prayer was spoken before a cannon went off, signifying the time for the participants to run into the 40-degree water. It was a matter of minutes before the realization of the cold hit the plungers faces. Most ran back out as quickly as they had run in.
After everyone rushed back out the water and into their towels, they received a commemorative T-shirt. Immediately following the plunge, Melrose provided homemade soup in their fellowship hall. Trophies for “Youngest Plunger,” “Most Money Raised by Youth,” “Most Money Raised Adult” and “Most Raised Team” were distributed.