Friends, families, speedos and lots of shivering were present at the second annual Texas State Army ROTC Polar Bear Plunge at Sewell Park from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Texas State ROTC sold $10 tickets, which would allow someone the opportunity to jump into the San Marcos River, receive an official Polar Bear Plunge t-shirt and some pizza.
ROTC raised around $2,800 last year at their premiere event and all of the proceeds went to the local Disabled American Veterans organization. The money raised at this year’s event will also be donated to the local DAV.
Cadet Cpt. Justin Gregg was instrumental in planning the event and said he was glad the cold temperatures did not turn people away from participating and was pleased with this year’s turnout.
“It’s inspiring to see so many people who are not just from ROTC and military members, but the community of San Marcos coming together raising all this money for the DAV,” said Gregg. “It’s fantastic and makes me very happy.”
Laura Rodriguez said her husband, Ismael Amaya, received an email about the Polar Bear Plunge. Initially Amaya was going to be the only one to participate in the event, but her daughters got really excited, so it turned into a family event.
“They had never done anything like that before and we thought it was for a good cause, so we wanted to support our veterans and we decided to come out,” says Rodriguez. “We were a little hesitant, but we said ‘OK, we’re going to do it.’”
Rodriguez and her family jumped into the river when temperatures were around 33 degrees and said the actual plunge wasn’t bad, but it was the getting out part that was challenging.
The San Marcos River has temperatures that remain around 72 degrees year round, which caused many of the jumpers to remain in the river and not want to come out.
Gregg said the community can expect the event again next year at around the same time and he is looking forward to it.