LAKENGREN — Due to recent frigid temperatures, ice had to be broken on Lake Lakengren before approximately 20 people could dive in during a recent “Polar Plunge.”
Gasper Township Fire and EMS held a pancake breakfast and the Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 2. All proceeds from the department fundraiser go toward new fire and EMS equipment. Chief of Fire and EMS Tim Halcomb explained, the Polar Plunge had been held in the past, but the department decided to bring it back to raise money for much needed safety equipment.
“This is not the first year, but for the last couple years they haven’t held it. This is something we wanted to get back in the habit of doing. It will be an annual event, as long as I’m here anyway,” Halcomb said. “Being the first year I’ve been in charge of it, I was just seeing where we were at and I didn’t really set any goals. As long as everyone made it in and out of the water safe and had a good time, that is all we were concerned with.”
“Camden is providing three members in ice rescue suits that will be in the water, ready to help anyone who has any kind of safety concerns,” Halcomb added. “I also have three ambulances here, two from Gasper and one from Camden, to help if there are any medical emergencies.”
The money raised will be used to purchase a set of battery operated extrication tools, which can be expensive. The money from the fundraiser will go into an account, where the department will build up enough to purchase the needed tools.
To spread the word, the department utilized Facebook, advertisements, and word of mouth. They tried to get as many sponsors as possible through employers and different businesses and community members.
“I think anything that gets us out into the community and lets the citizens know we’re here to help and something where we can build that relationship with them is a good event. Do I think jumping in the water is crazy? Sure, but it is all about having a good time, raising a bit of money, and making sure the citizens know their fire department is here and active and cares about them,” Halcomb said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH