Plunging for a Cause

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They call themselves the Pocono Polar Bears, and they are willing to jump or dive into a cold pond every February to raise money for a cause.

If the temperatures seem too mild for a polar bear, just remember, the water`s still cold.

Like clockwork, the Pocono Polar Bears return to Henning`s Pond in Carbon County.

“We`ve been doing this for 12 years,” said event organizer Bob Kasper.

They get wet in the mid-winter chill, and they raise money. This year it`s for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides services to severely injured veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

“It`s unique and it`s cool and it did the job, and I know a lot of vets will be grateful for the money that was raised here,” said War Veteran Ray Killough.

It`s not easy creating a mid-summer vibe even during a mild winter, but talk to those who take the plunge, and they`ll tell you all about the 35 degree water temperature on Henning`s Pond, but they`ll also tell you a dip in the ice water is the least they could do to support wounded vets.

“I have a son who is in the military so we`re always looking to help out for sure,” said Jodi Huttney of Pocono Lakes.

“Being part of being American is going out and supporting the troops for the freedom that everyone has here, because if it wasn`t for our soldiers, we wouldn`t have the freedom and be able to have a time like this, with families,” said Bryan Coyle of Philadelphia.

The cause and the fun, helps the plunge grow.

When it started 12 years ago, only 30 people showed up, just seven dove in the water. On Sunday 115 people took the plunge, and 300 spectators cheered them on.

“The Beach Boys music is playing. The bonfire is going. The chili is hot and we`re delighted,” said Kasper.

Last year's event was much more work for the Polar Bears.

They had to cut through 18 inches of ice on Henning's Pond to create enough room for people to take the plunge.