POLAR PLUNGE: THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF WINTER

PHOTOS BY TOM MCGUIRE

(some content from www.midhudsonnews.com)

John Corcoran, John Fox and all the guys and gals were at it once again, pulling off the 14th annual Stony Point Seals Polar Plunge event without a hitch this Super Bowl Sunday. Some 300 seals took their annual Polar Plunge into the Hudson River at the Grassy Point Seawall on Sunday.

The only thing colder than the water was the air, as temps were well below freezing. The men, women and children jumped into the river as a fundraiser. Usually the fundraiser is for the families one or two children burdened with medical bills, but this year the event had a different touch, as money raised went to North Rockland families affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Right behind and a few lengths to the south of the Seals launching pad into the Hudson River stood half a dozen or so homes badly harmed by the storm.

Swimmers entered at one end of the beach and exited on another, rushing for towels and shivering in cold. Most left the water in less than a minute, but a few brave participants stayed in for much longer, splashing around as they held flags and waved to friends and family.

“I’ve done polar plunges before and for the few seconds you’re in the water it’s hell, but it’s a good cause and we’re happy to be here,” said Assemblyman James Skoufis, who joined Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco in the chilly waters.

“Stony Pointers in this area, we are strong people and even though in times of crisis, we come together and help one another. That’s what we do as neighbors and that’s why you see such a big turnout here,” Skoufis said.

In addition to raising awareness of damage from Sandy, the participants made laps around a series of green ribbons in remembrance of the Newtown shooting.

The Seals also displayed a flag donated by Stony Point servicemen, who had flown it during their service in Kandahar.

After the traditional plunge into the icy Hudson, participants geared up for the big Super Bowl parties. One thing that the 2012 Polar Plunge had over the 2013 Plunge is the NY Giants were in the Super Bowl and, as fate would have it, ultimately won.

Also, later in the winter, the sixth annual Penguin Plunge benefit fundraiser will be held in Nyack on March 3. Three children battling health problems will get help with their medical bills from money raised when hardy adults voluntarily take a winter dip into the frigid Hudson River on March 3 at Memorial Park from noon to 2 p.m. (the actual plunge is at 1:30 p.m.) Max and Bree Hershkowitz of New Hempstead, are nine-year old fraternal twins who were delivered prematurely at 26 weeks. Both children suffer from conditions that have required several surgeries with the prospect of more in the future. Isabella Ruggiero, 4, of Harrington Park, NJ suffers from childhood cancer and a rare autoimmune disorder that affects her treatment. Additionally, Isabella’s mother suffered a neck injury in 2012 that has left her paralyzed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plungers prepare to storm the Hudson, while homes damaged by Sandy can be seen in the background - Photo by Elisa Taylor