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Cold for a cause

  • 20140127-123745-pic-520301545.jpg
    AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS Ralph "Puzzy" Clay, left; Eric Johnston, center; and Hugh Dugan; run into the icy waters of Mauch Chunk Lake during the first annual St. Joseph's Regional Academy Polar Plunge. They were three of many residents who braved the bitter temperatures and took a plunge for a good cause.
Published January 27. 2014 12:39PM

Thirty-five "polar bears" took the plunge this weekend to help raise money for a local Catholic school.

During the first annual St. Joseph's Regional Academy Polar Plunge, held at Mauch Chunk Lake in Jim Thorpe on Saturday, dozens of jumpers, as well as 19 chickens, braved the bitter temperatures to participate in the event. Some were dressed in costumes, while others donned their summer attire.

When all was said and done, over $6,000 was raised for the school.

Amanda Salovay, the principal of SJRA, who took a dip in the icy waters up to her waist because students raised over $5,000, said she was happy by the turnout.

She noted before the plunge that the students told her she was not allowed to wear a wet suit for the plunge, so she was doing her own science experiment and covering her legs in Crisco in the hopes of creating a barrier from the cold water.

Kathy Goff, one of the organizers of the event, said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who attended to cheer on the plungers.

Bob Schanninger, who came up with the idea for the fundraiser, said that he thought this would be a good event after he participated in one last year. He also was one of the plungers.

He thanked the Carbon County Commissioners, Game Commission and Mauch Chunk Lake Park crews for allowing the plunge to take place.

Prior to the jump the Jim Thorpe fire departments cut through the 10-inch thick ice to make a large enough area to jump. Ann Marie Calabrese from Magic 105.5 broadcast live from the event.

Rescue divers and medical personnel of St. Luke's Health Network were on-hand in case anyone needed assistance.

After the event when asked how the dip went, Salovay responded, "It was awesome and worth it."

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