Taking the Plunge

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At this time of year, local charities like to raise money by cutting a hole in the ice at lakes and ponds, and letting bold supporters plunge into the frigid water for a small donation.

Of course, this has been a mild winter, and lakes barely have a coating of ice if at all.

At Lake Wallenpaupak on Saturday, their event might have been less daring, but it was still fun.

This fundraiser benefits local dive teams often called upon to rescue summertime swimmers, or even wintertime ice fishers who find themselves in danger.

That`s why Dawn and Keith Williams took the plunge, even though there only a thin layer of ice to cut a hole in.

“It was ok on the legs but when you had to go under, that was the cold part,” said Dawn Williams of Lake Wallenpaupack.

“Crazy fun, a challenge. We love water skiing on the lake and wind surfing and doing all those things, but we`ve never gone in February in the ice,” said Keith Williams of Lake Wallenpaupack.

Plunge they did, paying a $25  donation to the Tafton and Ledgeville dive teams.

With water temperatures believed to be 35  to 40 degrees, the plunge was no day at the beach.

Dive crews took the occasion to show off their new equipment that could with a video camera that could locate a victim in a life or death cold weather rescue.

“Unfortunately for the community, there`s no ice and snow, no snowmobiling. For us it`s good though, keeps them off the ice,” said Richard Groo of the Tafton Fire Company Dive Team.

“Without the dive team, there`s be too many lives lost on this lake so it`s an awesome idea,” said Heidi Killiany of Greentown.

Killiany loves the lake, and all it has to offer.

Today, she and her daughter Samantha took the plunge to support the dive team, and to challenge themselves.

“A little chilly, but we walked it off, we ran it off on the way back out,” said Killiany.

For Dawn and Keith Williams, the plunge turned out to be a morning warm-up to an afternoon on the slopes.

But after the dip in the cold, there were more immediate concerns.

“A hot shower is close on the list,” said Dawn Williams.