Local public officials raised money for Big Brothers Big Sisters by taking part in the Polar Bear Plunge.

Clark County leaders take a chilly dip for charity

Abut 20 community leaders from Springfield and Clark County took a dip in a frigid water at the Clark County Fairgrounds this week to benefit a local charity.

The Polar Plunge event on Thursday raised about $2,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, which provides mentoring services for students in Clark County. Jason Irick, an assistant Clark County prosecutor who organized the event, said he hopes to bring the event back next year.

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Volunteers were asked to raise $100 per person, which was donated to the charity. The high temperatures on Thursday reached into the 40s.

“As soon as you jump in, you lose all your breath,” Irick told the Springfield News-Sun after taking the plunge.

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The initial idea was to host a competition between the city and county, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said. Instead the groups decided to have fun and collaborate.

“Together, we’re going to engage in shared suffering and build camaraderie as a local government,” Wilson said.

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Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller joked he prepared for the event by going ice fishing a couple weeks ago.

“It’s county employees and city employees just doing something fun together and celebrating our successes,” Bodenmiller said.

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Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said he has plenty of experience in the cold. He completed cold weather training while serving in the U.S. Marines and has visited Korea in the winter. But he said his jump into the lake Thursday still took his breath away.

“It was exhilarating to say the least,” Graf said. “It’s definitely cold out there.”

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