Jarrad Hedes/Times News District Judge William Kissner takes the "Ice Bucket Challenge" for ALS awareness on Tuesday with the help of Palmerton Borough Police Chief Randy Smith.
Millions of people across the country have been filmed dumping ice water on their head over the past few weeks.
No, it's not due to a massive heat wave. Instead, the "Ice Bucket Challenge" was started to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
People are nominated, usually by a friend or family member, to complete the challenge. They then take the challenge, donate money to ALS research or, in a best-case scenario, both. After completing the challenge and posting a video to Facebook, a person nominates others to do the same, moving the chain along.
Many Carbon County residents have already completed the challenge, including two district judges, Ed Lewis in Jim Thorpe and William Kissner in Palmerton.
Lewis was challenged by his grandson, Brody Schrantz, and happily accepted Monday. A personal connection to ALS also played a role in Lewis' decision to voluntarily get wet.
"A family member of one of my secretaries was stricken by the disease," Lewis said. "I knew him before he had the disease. The challenge is a fun activity to get involved in for a great cause."
Lewis took the challenge in his black judge's robe, but not before checking with an ethics committee to make sure it wouldn't come back to haunt him later.
"We're not allowed to use the prestige of our office for the purpose of raising funds, and of course, that isn't what I was doing here so I got the go-ahead to do it," he said.
Jim Thorpe police did the honors of pouring the ice-cold water on Lewis.
Lewis challenged three people: his secretary Wendy Smelas, Fred Bartelt and Kissner, who took his turn Tuesday afternoon with the help of Palmerton Borough Police Chief Randy Smith.
Kissner, who will also be making a personal donation in support of ALS research, didn't know much about the challenge until the past few days.
"Judge Lewis sent me a text message telling me he nominated me," Kissner said. "Hopefully this can bring awareness not just for ALS, but all the different debilitating diseases there are out there. "
Smith loaded up a bucket filled with water and ice and poured it on Kissner while the judge's staff looked on Tuesday.
"That was cold," Kissner responded after shaking some ice cubes out of his front shirt pocket.
Before taking the challenge, Kissner said he had a few people in mind he might nominate. He later revealed his choices to be Smith, Judge Joseph Matika and Jim Nemeth.
When the Ice Bucket Challenge started, participants could choose a charity of their choice for a donation. Chris Palmer, a golfer in Sarasota, Florida, chose a family member who suffers from ALS.
Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player diagnosed with ALS, posted his own video on July 31 and the campaign skyrocketed.
"I think it's a great cause," said Ryan Carden of Lehighton. "A lot of people are complaining that other people are dumping the water and not donating, but that misses the point. There is more awareness and more donations toward ALS research now compared to a month ago, and that is a good thing."
As of Tuesday, the ALS Association received $22.9 million in donations compared with $1.9 million during the same time period, July 29 through Aug. 19, last year.
The donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to the association.
"Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to the ALS Association," said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association
"We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in 10 and 20 years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS."