MASON— On Sunday afternoon, seven brave, or perhaps crazy, people jumped into the chilly Ohio River for the Annual MS Polar Bear Plunge.
While there may not have been any snow on the ground, Mother Nature still gave us a cold and windy day. Members of the Mason United Methodist Church gathered at the Mason Levee to watch these seven people jump and raise money for “Connie’s Crew” and their Multiple Sclerosis (MS) drive for church member Connie Gilland.
Amber Tracy, chairperson for “Connie’s Crew,” reported this was the fourth year they’ve been holding this event, and they normally raise around $1000. The jumpers ask for sponsorship from other citizens, and donations are also taken up at the event. Tracy added they were upping the ante, and their goal this year was to raise $2000.
Scott Knowlton, pastor of the Mason United Methodist Church, stated this was probably the most people they’ve had so far. Knowlton, along with a few other members, have jumped every year. He reported the jump is held during the same weekend every year, in honor of Connie’s birthday. He went on to say this event also isn’t just about the money.
“If we didn’t make any money, we’d still do it to raise awareness,” Knowlton said.
It was stated among the many spectators that this event happens, no matter what. It was reported that in previous years, the dock had been underwater, so the jumpers had to run into the river. Another year, the levee was icy, and jumpers had a difficult time getting out of the cold water.
In addition to the annual polar bear plunge, “Connie’s Crew” participates in several other events that act as fundraisers, and include yard sales, an upcoming spaghetti dinner, and the Annual MS walk in Athens, Ohio.
According to Connie Gilland, she is very grateful for all the members of the church and the jumpers for holding this event.
“These people are just absolutely wonderful for doing this for me,” Gilland said. “I can’t believe they’re jumping in this water.”