Tag: life

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.


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:


To learn more about Rescue Diving, please visit:


J is for Juggling

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It’s something I hear about all of the time – this idea of juggling the many parts of our lives.

Inevitably, we drop a ball here, we drop two there – yet we convince ourselves that we are capable of juggling the remaining eight while trying to bend down to gather up the rolling, slipping, escaping others.

I am a fine example of failed juggling. Here it is … 1:48AM … and I am only now writing about the letter J, after having just sent corrected tax information to my CPA. {Oh, you know she just adores me right now!}

Because my fingers allowed the TaxRecordsBall to fall, she gets to catch my early morning toss while keeping all of her spheres in the air. If she drops one or more of her own as a result …well, it goes on and on, doesn’t it?

So what if we stop juggling? What if we simply place the ClericalBall and the WritingBall and the FamilyBall and the ErrandsBall on the table – all tidy and still? We might even take a breath or two before picking each one up in turn.

How much better would our finished projects be if we could focus on the task at hand, instead of jumping up to answer the phone or go to yet another meeting? What if we could have dinner with friends and concentrate on the conversation; taste the food; notice the color of the napkins?

Of course the solution isn’t quite that easy, that accommodating. As much as we might like to think that we are juggling our calendars and kids, finances and health, it might just be that our lives are juggling us.

Certainly, very few people have the luxury of not feeling like a circus performer on a regular basis, but each of us does have options. Maybe the answer is in keeping our eye on the one ball that we most want to keep in the air – and simply do the best we can with the others. Maybe it’s not grabbing at every ball that’s thrown our way.

Maybe the real trick is in knowing what to drop, what to catch, and what to keep.

To Know and Be Known

As I drink my coffee and prepare for a hectic weekend, I want to share these quiet thoughts with you.

A dear friend recently sent a moving email to me. It was one of those meaningful-with-a-message emails that you read and then send on to your e-friends, who for the most part, will share it with their e-friends.

The point of this particular email was that an elderly man never missed having breakfast with his wife who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Even though she no longer knew who he was, he remained faithful and committed, explaining, “I still know who she is.”

From this simple statement, I began thinking about the people I continue to love and miss and wonder about. It’s no matter that some have died, a few have drifted away, and many have simply replaced actual communication with the intention to communicate. I still know them and carry them in my heart.

Isn’t that what we all look for spiritually, as well? To maintain through faith the belief that we are known always and cherished forever.

Parents pass away, friends move on, and even our children become distant with the busy-ness of living. There is a need to trust that someone, something, some entity  ‘Out There’ will always be sitting at the breakfast table with smiling eyes and ready ear, looking for our arrival. Anticipating and joyous and loving.

As we travel about today and into the next week and month and year, what if each of us could take just a minute to remind someone that we still know them and that they are important to us? Loving is not a passive thing. It is vibrant and invigorating and full of laughter. Maybe we can pick up the phone or send a postcard or personally deliver a bouquet of flowers to someone we love and treasure.

We can be the committed soul who explains, “I still know you; I still remember you.”