Powassan trio takes cold water plunge in community fundraiser

·4 min read

Powassan trio takes cold water plunge in community fundraiser Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism INitiative As promised, Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac joined Powassan Trivia Nights co-host Kelsey Ellis and 250 Clark Events Coordination Kathie Hogan for a plunge into Hydro Pond Wednesday after residents raised more than $5,000 for various upgrades to recreational facilities in the community.

The outdoor temperature was about 15 C, but Hogan says with the ice just having come off the pond, the water temperature was much colder.

Hogan says the trio first walked from shore into the water until they got waist-deep and then dove into the water to begin swimming.

“It was fine up to the point that we submerged,” said Hogan.

“Once you dove, you gasped at the coolness.”

Hogan says all three stayed in the water for about 20 seconds before walking back to shore.

She says it wasn't necessary to run back to get dry because the sunny, mild weather made coming out of the water tolerable.

“It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I'd do it again tomorrow knowing what we did was for a good cause,” Hogan said.

In total, the Powassan Plunge raised $5,100 which will go toward repainting the municipal pool and pool deck area, as well as repairing and painting the bleachers at the ball diamonds in Powassan and Trout Creek, as well as some work at Hydro Pond.

Hogan says the $5,000 was raised by Tuesday and the plan was to carry out the Powassan Plunge Saturday afternoon.

But the province's stay-at-home order accelerated the plunge into the pond to Wednesday.

“There's no way the municipality could be seen as participating in this kind of activity once the stay-at-home order took effect,” Hogan said.

Hogan and Ellis had 10 donation jars scattered across Powassan businesses to help hit the $5,000 mark.

People could also make donations by PayPal.

She says it was an interesting fundraiser because people wanted to see their mayor take the plunge as well.

The individual who helped ensure that would happen was local contractor Peter Reuten of Reuten Construction.

Hogan says Reuten asked her Tuesday how much more money she needed to get McIsaac in the water and when she told him it was about $650 “he said let's make it an even $700 and wrote a cheque for that amount.”

Hogan says it was the same with long-time resident Mary Heasman, who made a substantial donation at the beginning of the fundraiser to kick things off.

Heasman is a well-known individual in Almaguin who has written a weekly column for the Almaguin News for many years.

And it wasn't only Powassan residents who donated in an effort to see McIsaac land in cold water.

Jon Fudge of Heather's Fudge in North Bay contributed $200.

“Jon texted me Tuesday night to say it was inspiring what we do in Powassan,” Hogan said.

Hogan said she doesn't know who it was but someone dropped a $100 bill in the donation jar at the Clement's IDA Pharmacy.

Hogan says she's incredibly thankful she lives in a community where people “are not only generous but supportive too.”

“It's also very humbling,” she adds.

Both Hogan and Ellis wore vintage swimsuits made by Julie Gohm, the owner of the Original Bug Shirt Company in Powassan who also made a dress covered with different sized poppies last Remembrance Day.

As for McIsaac, he was decked out in a pair of swim trunks and a T-shirt.

McIsaac told the Nugget Wednesday's Powassan Plunge hands down may very well be the “craziest event” he's ever been part of, but said it was for a great cause since it raised money for children's recreational programming.

McIsaac said before his plunge that he was looking forward to the swim and then hinted at something potentially bigger in the future.

“Perhaps we can grow the event in the future and have a community Polar Plunge,” said McIsaac.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget