It was 2017, after a Bed Race, Lance Wheeler pulled me aside and whispered, “I have an idea for you. People jump into the cold water raise money.”
I thought to myself, ‘Gee, thanks, Lance. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, organize an event in the middle of winter, in the cold water…’ I had organized several Pride parades and a couple of Bed Races, and really just wanted to bake cookies.
Lance knew I needed some convincing, “They used to do it out in Copake Lake. It’s fun.”
I took Lance’s bait and in 2018, with the Hudson Fire Department, Alderman Dominic Merante, Nick Zachos, Mike Molinski, and many others, organized the first year’s plunge, which raised about $12,000.
Last weekend, I saw Lance as he was recording the event, looked at him and said, “See?”
Here’s Lance Wheeler’s edited version of the event (I give him credit, he does know how to pick a good thumbnail for the video):
Those risqué librarians from the Hudson Area Library and the History Room – showing all that ankle!
Peter Frank, of Friends of Hudson Youth, (second from left, pink heart shorts), has been organizing the Oakdale Plunge for the past three years and has taken the event to another level – there are now corporate sponsors, matching funds, a better website interface, and this year, a live video stream. I received an email from Strongtree Coffee, now in Florida, writing that they were watching and donating.
Peter says, “The event was a total blast, as always! It really shows what kind of community we have – over seventy people coming out in the rain in crazy costumes to jump in a frozen lake! And over 400 donors sponsoring their loony antics to support two great causes!”
The group, Herd Immunity, had great silver costumes. The zippers went down the front, underneath, and then back up in the back.
They were very courageous for wearing those outfits.
Wylde Ones – soon to open in the former Ör space, before that,
a garage on S. 3rd
As of writing this post, the event raised $39,000, or about 30% over their goal of $30,000. The money is divided between programming for Hudson Youth and the City’s Fire Department Dive and Rescue Team, for training and equipment.
The Dive and Rescue’s Team’s underwater communications system purchased for the team cost nearly $12,000 and was paid for entirely with donations from the Oakdale Plunge and Chicken BBQs.
After the first year, working closely with the City of Hudson’s Fire Department, the firefighters reached out to me and told me that they were interested in volunteering with the (2019) Pride Parade and organizing the Parade contingents the day of the event. They said, “All we need is a couple of golf carts, and a list of participants, and we’ll take care of it.”
This is where the Pride Parade needed the most help. Everyone (kinda) gets into their spot, and then the parade starts – and whatever happens, happens. We really never had anyone to make sure that it was in order.
Some of the firefighters who volunteered had never been to a Pride Parade before; some represented the other side of the political aisle. On the day of the Parade, they showed up, I gave them keys to the golf carts, a clip board and a list, and they helped organize the Pride Parade contingents.
Other than raising money, that is what these community events do – bring neighbors together. We may not necessarily agree on national issues, but we can agree and work together on local issues, such as youth programming and rescue team training.
It’s very hopeful.
Thank you to everyone who participated and donated!
Let’s get ready for next year, Hudson!
The 2018 Plunger that sits proudly on my mantel.
People ask me if I’m going into the water.
I’m the announcer, and I help with publicity.
That’s my level of involvement.