A January plunge into the Delaware for a good cause
Dozens came out for the Port Polar Plunge to support the Port Jervis Fire Department and, from the sound of all the laughter, had a good time doing it.

| January 17, 2023

Kids take the plunge into the Delaware River.
People of all ages took the plunge into the very cold Delaware on a very cold January morning to support the Special Ops team of the Port Jervis Fire Department. PHOTO BY MEG MCGUIRE

Why?

Sure, taking a dip in the almost-freezing Delaware River to raise money for the Special Ops Team of the Port Jervis Fire Department is a great idea!

But, when asked, most of these brave souls said something about “crazy”!

H’mmm that has the ring of truth!

It was 31 degrees, with a significant wind off the river. Fully-dressed yours truly had a hard time keeping her fingers working to write notes!

But 45 people came out for the 4th Annual Port Polar Plunge to support the Special Ops Team and, from the sound of all the laughter, had a good time doing it — some of these fine (cold) folks even went in more than once.

One of them was McKinley Fuller, 10, who has been a “regular” at the event in the four years it’s been running. She was ready to rock and roll right away, getting down to her bathing suit a good 10 minutes before the 9 a.m. start.

Jennifer Hahaluski, a little older, was bundled up before the plunge and blamed her friend, Naomi, for guilting her into doing it again after skipping it last year. What are friends for?

Joe Fagin, from Milford, explained what it all feels like before during and after in the following video:

Fagin makes a good point: There are often drownings on the river, and almost always it’s because the person wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The Delaware can be fun but it’s also dangerous.

That’s why the Port Jervis Fire Department has the Special Ops Team. It is trained in river rescues and has expertise in in extrication. Each member of the team is trained in at least one specialty.

“Anything that’s not a fire,” is the way Assistant Chief Tony Fuller explained it.

And one more video to celebrate how wonderful and crazy people can be:

Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire has been a journalist for 30 years in New York and Connecticut. She started in weekly newspapers and moved to full-time work in dailies 25 years ago. She knows about the tectonic changes in journalism firsthand, having been part of what was euphemistically called a "reduction in force" six years ago. Now she's working to find new ways to "do" the news as an independent online publisher of news about the Delaware River, its watershed and its people.

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