POMEROY — Freezing temperatures both in and out of the water didn’t stop more than 20 people from plunging into the Ohio River on Saturday afternoon.
A total of 24 people plunged into the frigid river from the Pomeroy amphitheater as part of a fundraiser for the Meigs County Dog Shelter.
Those 24 jumpers raised $5,901 for the shelter — and with donations still coming in, that amount is expected to eclipse the $6,000 mark.
Event organizer and participant Rich Wamsley said he had four goals for the event — all of which were not only met, but exceeded.
“My goals were personal sponsorship of $500 — I tripled that. My goal for a total raised at the event was $3,000 — we doubled that and the expectation of at least eight jumpers — we tripled that. We also wanted it would be safe and fun for everyone — and we accomplished that,” Wamsley said. “There were absolutely no injuries and several people have already contacted me wanting to know if we are going to do it again next year. I think everyone had a blast.
“So overall, either I set my goals too low or it turned into a huge success.”
Wamsley expressed his gratitude to the many sponsors and supporters of the event, as well as to all of those taking part to help the dogs.
“The parking lot was full with onlookers and supporters,” he said. “EMS had a squad on hand for us. Commissioner Randy Smith was there for support. Cliff Thomas volunteered his services with his Skye Production DJ Equipment. Sheriff Keith Wood was there showing his support, and Meigs County Dog Warden was on hand to meet and answer questions.”
“I want to thank the Pomeroy village for allowing us to do this, all of the businesses that donated a prize and all the people who sponsored someone for this event,” Wamsley said. “One-hundred percent of the money has already been turned over to the Meigs Dog Shelter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Meigs County is my home for a special reason. Our community rocks.”
Tara Rose won first place in the most amount raised with $1,640 as of Monday afternoon. Rose received a flat-screen television from the Meigs County Canine Crew, a gift certificate from Pizza Dan’s and a trophy.
Rose said the biggest question she has heard about the event was why she would want to participate.
“The biggest question is why? I jumped because I feel sorry for the dogs at the shelter. I figured if I could help by plunging, then why not?” Rose said. “A few minutes of being wet and cold was worth all the donations I collected. I want to thank all of the sponsors for the event. I had sponsors from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Arizona and California. Also everyone has asked if it was cold — yes, it was. And several people have asked if I would be doing it again. Sure, just not anytime soon.”
The Meigs County Bikers received the trophy for the most-listed sponsors. Several others won prizes that were donated by other local businesses. Becky Aker received a gift certificate from Pizza Dans for the best costume. Aker was dressed as a penquin with a tu-tu. Colten Walters received recognition for the best plunge.
Jeremy Shockey also accepted the challenge set forth by Pam Patterson of Pizza Dan’s. Patterson said she would donate $100 to the shelter for a person who was not planning to jump but would participate in the plunge. Shockey was the first to accept that challenge.
Commissioner Randy Smith, who was in attendance for the event, expressed is gratitude to Wamsley and his family for organizing the event and their continued support of the shelter.
“I also want to thank those who were crazy enough to jump, along with the Columbia Township EMS and Dog Warden Karen Heater for being here today in support of the dog shelter,” he said.
Smith noted the partnerships and collaborative efforts of many agencies — including the Meigs County Humane Society and Meigs County Dog Shelter — along with other officials, businesses and individuals in working to benefit not only the dog shelter, but Meigs County as a whole.
“It takes everyone’s help to continue to make things better,” he said. “Today shows that we have a community willing to get together and support a worthwhile cause.”