LAKENGREN — This year, Gasper Township Fire and EMS’ Polar Plunge nearly doubled in number of participants. Last year, 20 people jumped into the lake, while this year, they had approximately 40 individuals signed up to take the plunge.
The Polar Plunge had to be postponed until Saturday, Feb. 8, due to unseasonably warm weather. Unlike last year, even with pushing back the date, there was no ice on the lake to be broken. However, it was actively snowing as participants shed their outer layers and prepared for their swim.
According to Gasper Township Fire and EMS Chief Tim Halcomb, all proceeds from the department fundraiser go towards purchasing items not budgeted for the department.
He added, the Polar Plunge had been held in the past, but after a hiatus the department decided to bring it back last year to raise money for much-needed safety equipment. He now hopes this to be an annual event to raise money for the department.
“We’re trying to raise money for our fire association. The money normally goes towards extra things around the station, so we don’t have to pull money out of the budget for those items. The money is for the members,” he said. “We’ve used funds for things like the sweatshirts, apparel, and extra tools around the station — things we don’t want to use budgeted money for, because it goes toward apparatus and repairs.”
The event began with a pancake breakfast, providing an opportunity for residents to meet members of Gasper Township Fire and EMS, see the trucks, and help support the department. There was also event gear for purchase, including t-shirts and hoodies.
Gasper Township Fire and EMS is thankful for all who turned out this past Saturday to support the event and hopes to see even more attendance next year.
“To me, personally, this is my favorite event, because I like getting into the water. I think it is something different, no one else in the county does it. This is something unique to this township and area, having the lake,” Halcomb said.
“Over the last few years we’ve really made ourselves known and we’ve seen a lot of support from the community. Everyone seems to enjoy the event. I just want to thank everybody, this many people to come out and support the department is really humbling. It really shows the citizens know we’re here to support them.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH