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Polar Plunge Benefits Port Jervis Fire Department's Special Operations Squad

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

PORT JERVIS, NY - Port Jervis’ Recreation Department hosted the city’s Fifth Annual Polar Plunge on January 13th. The event is held each January to benefit Port Jervis Fire Department’s Special Operations Squad, as well as offer a fun outdoor winter event in the region.

Unlike past frigid years when river ice actually had to be cut to allow a ‘plunge zone’ for participants, the near-50-degrees air temperature was a pleasure for the 58 who submerged in the river this year. While the river level was elevated due to weeks of recent rain, this was viewed as a positive by some who compared it to past plunges.

PJFD’s Water Operations Team members and plunge participants were able to walk on a sandy flooded beach to enter and exit the water this year, rather than the rocky river bed surface encountered when the water is shallower.

PJFD Firefighter Tim Simmons, who is the 1st Lieutenant of PJFD’s Water Operations Team, has chaired the event with PJ Recreation Director John Faggione annually. Simmons praised those who helped with the event, and those who participated and helped raise funds for the team.

Simmons said some have participated in all five years that the event has been held, while others were experiencing it for the first time.

One nine-year-old girl, Skylar Delellas, used her birthday money to pay the $25 event registration fee, wanting to personally support the cause. Another 12-year-old, Ryder Scott, participated on what was his actual 12th birthday this year. With the water temperature estimated to be in the low to mid 40s, Ryder, his dad, and his nine-year-old brother took the plunge together.

“We really appreciate the support from everyone involved,” Simmons said.

Port Jervis Fire Department’s Special Operations Squad is comprised of three specialized response teams– Accident Victim Extrication Team, Technical Rescue Rope Team, and Water Operations Team.

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SHARON SIEGELSenior Correspondent

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