02-11-15-polar-bear-plunge.gifJumping into icy water, as crazy as it may seem, has been a tradition in many countries as either a health tradition or a celebration of the New Year. The Nordic countries, Finland in particular, are famous for this sauna culture. People sit in saunas in order to sweat out impurities and then jump into nearby freezing bodies of water to wash them away and close the pores. Now the tradition has taken on a new life as a sort of dare and fundraising challenge called the Polar Plunge. The event takes place on Feb. 21, at Addison Ridge apartment complex.

This Polar Plunge is more than the traditional dip in the pool and jump out. There is a bit more of a challenge. “There will be coins at the bottom of the pool. Each coin will have a number on it. The number will correspond to one of the many great prizes that have been donated to this event. Once a person has their coin they can compare it to the board that will have the number associated with the prize,” said Apartment Manager Heather Gonzalez.

Some of the prizes that have been donated so far are fitbits and a Kindle Fire.

This year, the Polar Plunge is sponsored by Addison Ridge, which is also providing the pool, and Disaster One. The event is to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

“There’s a $12 fee. All of it goes to wounded warriors,” said Gonzalez. “With the wounded warriors being an issue so close to home for so many and with Fort Bragg and the military right at our back door, this just seemed like a great charity to support because they give back to the military. Soldiers give so much to our town just by being here. They do so much and sacrifice so much. This is a fun way to celebrate and support them.”

The Wounded Warrior Program is dedicated to helping wounded veterans readjust and lead rewarding and productive lives. It does this through various projects that focus on four core ideas:

Mind. Interactive programs and retreats are designed to give people the tools they need to readjust and maintain happy healthy relationships.

Body. The project also focuses on the body by providing care and maximizing rehabilitation to encourage warriors to continue to live active healthy lifestyles.

Economic empowerment. The organization offers education programs, training and employment assistance to help create long-term financial stability.

Engagement. The Wounded Warrior Project also assists warriors by promoting engagement with their peer mentoring, Alumni program and more.

Proceeds from the Polar Bear plunge will assist the Wounded Warrior Project in continuing their valuable work with our nations heroes.

To participate in the Polar Plunge there is a $12 entry fee. You must be 18 years or older and there is a waiver. You can pay to jump yourself or nominate a friend.

There are also three levels for sponsors. The Baby Bear is a $100 donation and includes your logo on flyers, name on T-shirts, and nomination of two participants. The Mama Bear requires a $200 donation, and in addition to what is offered with the Baby Bear, it includes a booth at the event. The Papa Bear with a $300 donation builds on the Mama Bear with a link on the Addison Ridge website for three months.

The Polar Plunge is taking place Feb. 21 from 1 to 3p.m. at Addison Ridge located at 1000 Antietam Creek Dr. For more information, call 226-2444.

Photo: The Polar Bear plunge benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

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