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Polar Plunge Supports Port Jervis Water Operations Team

By SHARON SIEGEL, Senior Correspondent | January 23, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 012321108

Port Jervis, NY - More than 100 supporters plunged into the 32-degree Delaware River in January in support of Port Jervis Fire Department’s 2nd annual Polar Plunge. The event, hosted at West End Beach in Port Jervis, was a fundraiser held for PJFD’s Water Operations Team. PJFD divers were stationed mid-river to keep watch as participants submerged to varying depths and lengths of time in the bone-chilling, swiftly moving river.

Many participants made a return visit for the event, repeating last year’s first time PJ Polar Plunge. Some entered the water completing their personal challenge multiple times.

Those who participated said they enjoyed the accomplishment as a personal feat, but mainly wanted to show support for the responders who help their community so generously as volunteers throughout each year.

Chip Estenes, a repeat participant, applied a temporary mustache and wore a vintage style suit into the water for the event. He said he is always glad to support the efforts of Port’s all-volunteer fire department and appreciates their skillful responses and protection of the region they serve.

To help keep people warm, organizers constructed multiple fire pits spaced along the beach for individual groups and families to enjoy within socially distanced ongoing pandemic guidelines. Masks were worn whenever anyone was not with the group they arrived with.

The January 16th event was chaired by PJFD Water Operations Team 1st Lt./4th Ward Councilman Tim Simmons and by Port Jervis Recreation Director John Faggione. Both Simmons and Faggione expressed their gratitude for the support of so many in making the event an even bigger success than last year’s first time Polar Plunge.

“We were encouraged by the number of people who were willing to come out and do something for us, as well as being able to turn a corner and get out and do something outside and close to normal again,” Simmons said. “Everyone took turns by the fire and sort of policed themselves in keeping everything running smoothly and within the pandemic guidelines. It went very smoothly and I think everyone really enjoyed it.”

Simmons said next year’s Polar Plunge will take place mid-January, 2022, with the actual date to be posted in the near future. The organizers hope even more will enjoy taking a Polar Plunge next year.

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