By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
A crowd of hearty revelers plunged into the Ohio River on New Year’s Day, as part of the Polar Bear Plunge, now in its 11th year in Portsmouth.
About 82 people participated, most raising money for two local charities.
“This year’s plunge went well,” said Sam Simon, founder of the Portsmouth Polar Bear Club. “We changed locations this year and the Polar Bear Club is alive and well. I think they (members of the club) are going to follow us wherever we go. We’ve gotten some real good donations for SOMC Hospice the rest home veterans summer picnic.”
The local Polar Bear Plunge started in 2000 when Simon and a couple of his friends playfully jumped into the Ohio River next to his home near Sciotoville. After that it became a tradition and grew larger when they moved their activity to Portsmouth in 2004.
Stephanie Haney of Portsmouth recently returned from Antarctica, where she served as an emergency medical technician.
“Today went really well, it was fun,” Haney said. “This is my first time doing this in Portsmouth. I participated in a polar plunge in Antarctica, which is why I did it here. I wanted to see how it compared.”
As expected, she said the water was warmer here than Antarctica. Haney said she is planning to participate in next year’s event. She helped raise money for SOMC Hospice.
This year marked Luke Daniel’s 10th year of participating in the annual event.
“This is a way to wash away everything that happened last year and are ready for the new year,” Daniel said.