BY TOM OSSA
Every winter around Super Bowl Sunday, hundreds of people flock to the Hudson River to watch a bunch of eager volunteers run into the freezing cold water. And every year, the funds raised at this event are used to help save the life of one or two young children in North Rockland. It’s become a tradition and something of a local celebration.
The Stony Point Seals will again be hosting the 2012 Polar Plunge this Sunday, February 5, located near the end of Main Street at the Stony Point Seawall. This year the event organizers have promised to make the accommodations and entertainment even more pleasant for the attendees and volunteers, with heated tents for the plunge participants, a DJ and grandstand, as well as the usual hot refreshments for everyone to enjoy.
This year’s plunge will benefit the family of Brandon Hernandez, a 5-year-old boy who is afflicted with several conditions, including a heart defect and a disorder known as Noonan Syndrome. In 2006, Brandon received a new heart but as a result has gone through the ordeals of several follow up surgeries, various infections, pneumonia, and general low immunity. It is a difficult set of illnesses for Brandon’s family to endure, and the financial burden has increased with each successive treatment.
The Stony Point Seals have been organizing the Polar plunge for over 10 years. It started out with several friends who got together for a friendly football game on Super Bowl Sunday in 2000. One of the participants, Andy Huber, convinced others to jump in the Hudson River.
After breaking through the ice that had formed and jumping in, Huber, John Corcoran, John Fox and Chris Bryceland decided to name their group the Stony Point Seals. Andy’s sister Karen suggested that the group raise money for neighborhood children in need. By 2003, over 50 plunge participants were involved in the effort. Since then it has grown steadily in attendance and fundraising capability.
In January 2001, the fundraiser was done for Michael Sparta, a little boy from Stony Point who has cerebral palsy. In 2002, the Polar Plunge was done for little Emily Kreger, also a North Rockland resident who was diagnosed with brain cancer. In 2003, the Seals jumped in for 3-year old Sarah Martin who had been in a terrible lawn mower accident.
The Stony Point Seals have a lot of support within the community. The Stony Point Police Department, Wayne Hose Company, and the Stony Point Ambulance Corp. have been there to help in any way they could. This year the Stony Point Seals are being joined by the Nam Knights of America, MC – Hudson Valley Chapter, a motorcycle club comprised mostly of veterans and law enforcement personnel dedicated to raising money for worthy causes. The Seals are very happy to be joined with an organization that has done so much for their community.
The Seals have added new amenities and promotional materials to their fundraising efforts. They redeveloped their website and added an online donation system via PayPal. Long sleeve T-Shirts for the event are also available for a $20 donation. To participate in the plunge, please go to www.stonypointseals.com to learn more information, donate online or begin to raise money for Brandon Hernandez. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday February 5, and the plunge will occur at 12 noon.
Three Ways to Get Involved in Seals Polar Plunge:
Go to www.stonypointseals.com and do one or more of the following:
1. Donate online using PayPal
2. Download sponsor form to participate in plunge
3. Share the event information on Facebook, Twitter
Do you have comments or questions on our organization?
Stony point Seals Inc.
PO Box 654
Stony Point , NY 10980
Contact the Stony Point Seals at :
Mike Lydon 845 304-7192
John Corcoran 845-729-1351