Tak­ing a dip for char­ity

Old Per­li­can fire­fight­ers raise funds for Ron­ald McDon­ald House

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

Ask Jody Barnes what it’s like to dive into the At­lantic Ocean wear­ing only a pair of shorts in Jan­uary and you won’t get a com­pli­cated an­swer.

“It was very cold,” Barnes said last week.

But it was for a good cause, and Barnes said he would do it again.

Eight mem­bers of the Old Per­li­can Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment boldly jumped into the ocean on Jan. 2. They splashed around for less than 30 sec­onds, but man­aged to raise some $2,500 in the process.

The money is be­ing split be­tween the fire depart­ment and the new Ron­ald McDon­ald House, which is be­ing con­structed in St. John’s. The house will of­fer sick chil­dren and their fam­i­lies a home-away-from-home for a nom­i­nal fee when re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal treat­ment at the Janeway Chil­dren’s Health and Rehabilitation Cen­tre.

“ We had an over­whelm­ing re­sponse from the com­mu­nity,” said Barnes, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the Po­lar Bear Dip. Barnes said most of the money was raised through pledges from pri­vate cit­i­zens.

“As soon as they re­al­ized what the

Par­tic­i­pants had their slo­gan, “Freezin’ 4 A Rea­son,” painted on their backs.

money was for, many peo­ple dou­bled their pledges,” Barnes added.

The slo­gan for the event was “Freezin’ 4A Rea­son,” which was painted onto the bare backs of the par­tic­i­pants.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered at the boat launch to wit­ness the spec­ta­cle.

The skies were over­cast, with tem­per­a­tures be­tween 1 and 2 C.

“ The salt wa­ter can numb you in the sum­mer, so yes, it was over­whelm­ing,” said Barnes.

For­mer Old Per­li­can res­i­dent April Beck­ett, the only fe­male dar­ing enough to take the plunge, joined the fire­fight­ers in the wa­ter.

“ We thank April for her sup­port,” said Barnes.

Barnes said there are plans to make the dip an an­nual event.

With great en­thu­si­asm, par­tic­i­pants in a po­lar bear dip in Old Per­li­can en­tered the wa­ter on Jan. 2.

Tak­ing part in the “ Freezin 4 A Rea­son” dip in Old Per­li­can on Jan. 2 were, from left, Brad Hopkins, Cur­tis Squires, Roger Burt, Jody Barnes, Ja­son Doyle, fire chief Colin Kelly, Michael Squires, Rod­ney Burt and April Beck­ett.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple came along to wit­ness the bit­ter spec­ta­cle on Jan. 2 in Old Per­li­can.

The par­tic­i­pants ex­ited the wa­ter af­ter about 30 sec­onds, and raced to cover up in a towel or blan­ket.

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