JACKSON TWP. People lined up at water’s edge one group at a time to take an icy cold swim at Lake Cable in Jackson Township on Feb. 8. To be exact, 438 jumpers took the Polar Bear Plunge challenge to raise money for the Jackson Local Schools Foundation (JLSF) and local charities.

It was the fourth annual event and JLFS Vice President Justin Hardesty said this year was the biggest event, yet.

“The event has grown each year and our goal was to get 400 jumpers this year and we ended up with 438 and raised $60,000,” Hardesty said. “We (had) several big groups jumping today including one from Cutler Real Estates, a local neighborhood group called Iced Age, Omni Orthopedics, many large groups from Jackson Local Schools and many other groups.”

This year, the temperature was 32 degrees and the lake was clear of ice. Last year, employees of the Jackson Township Parks Department had to break up the ices to make room for the jumpers. While conditions were a bit improved over last year, make no mistake the water was frigid, and the air was cold, cold, cold.

There were heated tents close by the shoreline for jumpers to get into to get dry and warm. Hot beverages were being served inside the clubhouse and out next to the jump area. The Jackson Fire Department had its water rescue team in the water the entire afternoon making sure everyone was safe. And, the Jackson Police Department helped with traffic in and out of the event and with parking.

“We couldn’t hold this event without the help of the Jackson Township safety forces, the local Boy Scouts, the Lake Cable Recreation Association, all of the many, many volunteers who help us setup, the Foundation board members and just so many people help make this event the success that it is,” Hardesty said.

The Jackson Local Schools Foundation is an independent organization of local volunteers that works to promote educational achievement, encourage instructional innovation and create excitement about learning. The JLSF is a non-profit, charitable organization that seeks tax-deductible donations from citizens, businesses and organizations to further the excellence in Jackson Local Schools.

The Polar Bear Plunge is held in early February. For more information about the Polar Bear Plunge, for next year, visit https://www.jacksonpolarbearplunge.org/.