Category: Hope

Safety First at the Polar Plunge

January 1st might be National Polar Bear Swim Day, but Saturday, February 18, 2017 is the day to mark on your calendar. It is the one day of the year when you can watch perfectly reasonable human beings – attorneys, firefighters, high school students, engineers and retirees – purposely walk, jump, skip or even swish into frigidly cold water. For ten years this wild behavior has been going on. And all to benefit Special Olympics.

http://soindiana-rod.org/polarplunge/

Whether the skies are sunny or the snow is blowing, folks will head out to Versailles State Park for the annual Polar Plunge next month. However, before any of the participants can enter the lake, local divers cut through 9” of solid ice to clear the plunge area.

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Between the preparation and the start of the event, emergency personnel check and recheck their gear while experienced divers drink plenty of water and relax.

Every dive demands pre-planning, training and focus. The water rescue team outfits each rescue truck with everything necessary for all kinds of emergencies including dark water, swift water and ice rescues.

 

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Gear like these lines and chain saws are tested frequently and maintained scrupulously to ensure the safety of the divers and the person – or animal – being rescued.

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Each diver is only one part of a large, cohesive team. Even getting dressed properly requires a group effort.

 

Testing gear, communicating with the team and being alert are three vital aspects of any dive.

 

 

 

 

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Clearing the Polar Plunge area of debris that can injure a participant, or impede a rescue is an ongoing process.

 

 

 

 

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The divers share a bond that is difficult to describe. Words like ‘family’, ‘brotherhood’, ‘tight’ cannot define the shared life and death experiences these men and women face regularly in and out of the water as part of the Team.

Everyone has a job to do – from hauling gear, drying lines and inspecting the dive site.

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Once in the frigid water, the team does another sweep before getting into position.

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Almost ready …

 

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Another successful, safe – and fun – Polar Plunge!

To learn about upcoming Polar Plunges in your area, please visit:

http://www.specialolympics.org/Calendar/Polar_Plunge_Events.aspx

To learn more about Rescue Diving, please visit:

http://www.rescuediver.org/Classes/rd-stand.htm

O is for Overlooked

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It happens to all of us – this overlooking, neglecting, ignoring. Life is too busy, time is too short.

But in the rush to accomplish and do and become, all too often we forget what made living so exciting and happy and fresh …

 

 

 

The overlooked might be funny …

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Might be lovely …

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Might be silly …

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Might be cool …

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Might be meaningful only to one person.

But still, very important.

K is for Keeps

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Playing for keeps. This is for keeps. Finders keepers.

From childhood, we learn that keeping is good and losing is sad. To let something go, like a balloon or a kite, is rarely the goal, so we are warned to hold onto the string or we won’t get another.

We grow up and often struggle with not-keeping – relationships that fade over time, or jobs that no longer exist.

As we mature, we face the letting go of the people we most deeply love.

Today countless people are saying goodbye to a young woman who I never met. Lauren Hill was just 19 years old and died from  Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

On April 10th, her family had no choice but to let her go – to release her spirit into peace after a courageous and loving and painful and exhilarating and funny and frustrating and terrific life. A life that Miss Hill wanted very much to keep.

Sometimes we simply cannot keep what we most love. Sometimes the decision is just not ours to make.

But we aren’t necessarily limited to mourning and memories. We can keep the Lauren Hills of our hearts a vibrant part of our lives by taking up their unfinished work – be it fundraising for cancer, caring for others, reading a book, or planting a garden.

The strings might slip through our fingers and the balloons drift beyond our grasp, but we can look into the sky at any moment and be inspired to reach toward the heights.

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