Supporters cross Pine Creek, raise $3,000 for nursery Brrrrrrr Brothers Your attention please
Published: January 10, 2013
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VALLEY VIEW - Before giving a 10-second countdown for participants to jump into the chilly Pine Creek on Tuesday, Jan. 1 for the fourth annual Pine Creek Polar Bear Plunge, event organizer Jim Reed said the water temperature climbed two degrees over the weekend to 40 degrees.
Despite being slightly warmer than the 32-degree air Tuesday, participants still let out yells and screams as they crossed the icy waters then back again, or turned around halfway through the creek.
"I'll tell you what, it's a mad rush," Kevin Furness, Pottsville, said while drying off.
Furness said it was his first time participating in a polar plunge event.
"It was worth it. It was something I wanted to do for a while," Furness said.
John "Dart" Bruso, Spring Glen, has taken the polar plunge all four years at Pine Creek.
"It was just something that I always wanted to do and it is now tradition," Bruso said shortly after getting out of the water. "It's also a great stress reliever. If there's something on your mind before you go in, you forget about it as soon as you hit the water."
Bruso also noted it was for a good cause.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Pine Creek Trout Nursery, a cooperative of the state Fish and Boat Commission and Valley View Gun Club. Reed said the annual event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the nursery and this year's plunge raised $3,000. It costs about $4,000 a year to feed the nursery, he said. Last year, there were 70 participants and the event raised $2,800.
"Each year it gets bigger and better," Reed said. "People come from all over the area to participate."
Reed said he got the idea for the event from his cousin who participates in the annual Harrisburg Polar Plunge.
"It's just a neat thing to do for this time of the year," Reed said.
Reed also joins the fun every year and jumps in with everyone else.
"It's either go in or get thrown in," Reed said before hitting the water.
Participants also received a T-shirt and a pork and sauerkraut dinner to help warm them up after taking the plunge.
Footwear was required to enter the water Tuesday, but clothes were up to the individual.
Wearing a winter hat and not much else, Allen Koppenhaver, a Hegins native now living in Fort Knox, Ky., said it was his first time taking the plunge.
"It's going to be a walk in the park," Koppenhaver said sarcastically.
Ashley Hartlieb, Annville, and Liberty Clark, New Holland, were wearing bikinis Tuesday. They said they took the plunge last year. Hartlieb said they are trill-seekers when explaining why they enjoy hitting the icy water.
"Because we are nuts and it's fun," she said.
Clark said it is something that they can be proud to say they did.
"It's a new year to start new, thrilling things," she said, noting that skydiving is next for the two friends.