Unsung Heroine: Barbara Noyes

BY BARRY WARNER

#6343: Barbara Noyes is standing on the banks of the Hudson River at the site of the 2015 Penguin Plunge in Nyack’s Memorial Park. With temperatures below freezing, about 100 people jumped into the very cold waters to raise funds for children in need of medical care.
#6343: Barbara Noyes is standing on the banks of the Hudson River at the site of the 2015 Penguin Plunge in Nyack’s Memorial Park. With temperatures below freezing, about 100 people jumped into the very cold waters to raise funds for children in need of medical care.

Barbara Noyes earns this week’s title of unsung heroine for her work devising and organizing the annual Penguin Plunge in Nyack.

The Penguin Plunge, a 501C3 charity, is the brainchild of Barbara, a South Nyack Police Officer, and is administered with support from local resident Mike Lynch and many others. Each year they nominate children in need of medical care and organize the event in their honor. This March, with temperatures below freezing, about 100 people participated in the 8th Penguin Plunge and jumped into the Hudson River at Memorial Park in Nyack to raise the needed funds.

Mike Lynch said, “Barbara came up with the idea of the Penguin Plunge and has been its heart and soul since the beginning. Her passion, commitment and dedication to the Plunge are incredible. She volunteers her time and spends endless hours each year to ensure the Plunge is a success. She is truly an example of what it means to support your local community.”

Barbara graduated Pace University with a major in criminal justice; was an Orangetown Police officer, School Resource Officer at Nyack Middle School and Dare Officer in the Pearl River School System. She is a wife, mother of 4 children and has 3 grandchildren.

Barbara said, “I want to make a difference in the world. I get a lot of energy when I help people. I know how hard it is to run fundraisers. During the 8 years of the Penguin Plunge, Mike Lynch and I have raised over $200,000 and helped pay for the medical expenses of 14 children. I am blown away by how kind and how great people are to support ill children. Also, I like to do wonderful things such as helping the Nyack Cleanup with Keep Rockland Beautiful, sending packages to our troops, participating with Parents as Reading Partners, judging at local science fairs and administering a Youth Leadership Program. Regarding the Toastmasters Club, I enjoy helping people who use English as a second language, to become more comfortable and confident in that setting.”

Toastmasters is a non-profit educational organization, that operates clubs for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.

Club member Dr. Monica Barrera stated, “Barbara is not only a terrific speaker, but an instrumental member of Sunset Toastmasters. She truly believes in helping others to become better public speakers. Being one of the founding members of the club, she has a vast leadership experience that she generously and enthusiastically shares to make the club run smoothly. All of this with a friendly smile, a great sense of humor and a contagious energy. After you meet her, she soon becomes a well-loved friend. Barbara is an amazing asset to the organization.”

Ten miles or so northward up the Hudson River a group of friends in Stony Point have conducted a similar charity event known as the Stony Point Seals Polar Plunge every Super Bowl Sunday for the past 15 years.