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171st takes the plunge in 2010

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault
  • 171 ARW/PA
     As hundreds of people dressed in bathing suits and tossle caps lined the Monongahela River preparing to plunge in the below freezing water, children across Western Pennsylvania were keeping warm in their winter coats.  The 2010 Polar Bear Plunge raised more than $2,000 for Project Bundle Up.  Master Sgt. John Buckwalter led members of the 171st ARW to the Mon Warf to take part in the yearly ritual.  Three years ago, Buckwalter began raising money for charity in conjunction with the event by selling T-shirts.
     Senior Airman Sarah Gault was a rookie in the 2010 Polar Bear Plunge.  She was encouraged by Buckwalter to participate, but it also allowed her to accomplish one of her "bucket items," - something to achieve in her lifetime.
     "It was not what I expected at all.  I think my heart stopped for a few seconds."  In his second jump, Col. Dave Macmillan, Operations Group Commander, said the water had the same impact on him, it hit him like a ton of bricks.
     "Of course, you have to be tough to be a Polar Bear," Macmillan said, who missed the event last year because of his deployment to Manas Air Base.  Not sure if she will be jumping next year, Gault said she may just buy a T-shirt in support but encourages others to do it for the experience.
     "More people should participate because it is for a good cause and it is like nothing you've experienced before," Gault said.