Contributed by Paula Nance
Friendly faces, the fresh scent of Alaskan air and people jumping into freezing water! Say goodbye to cabin fever, it’s getting wild in Wasilla, Alaska.
Years passed saw as many as 100 people sign up to participate in the annual Mat-Su Sertoma Plunge. This 10th Anniversary event expects “Earth shattering” numbers to join in the shenanigans! This year’s event hosted by Everett’s Mat-Su Resort, on Saturday, February 9, 2019. As our second event hosted by Jerry Neaser, event coordinator Ina Mueller and the amazing staff of Everett’s, last year’s plunge saw the kitchen and bar specials in high demand.
Participants from all over the world dress head to toe in colorful costumes to help raise money for hearing health and the local community. A new twist added this year is the “Name your price Costume Closet” no costume, no problem, rent one of our on-site specials!
Gretchen Santerre, the president of the Mat-Su Sertoma Club, said that although the event requires a lot of preparation and hard work, the outcome is always worth it. “We usually have great weather and a wonderful turn out to support our annual event, Alaskan’s never stand for the status quo, but to break the mold!” said Santerre.
The event needs lots of volunteers, and our sponsorships are second to no other. With more than 50 Annual active local businesses and organizations joining Mat-Su Sertoma club to celebrate winter, this year’s Anniversary of 10 strong years promises to be the best ever. In order to jump at the event, each participant must raise a minimum of $100 while most jumpers look to score the Annual Biggest Fund Raiser Ice Berg Award.
This year, Santerre said they hope to raise $15,000, which will be donated to the Wasilla community in a variety of ways. Sertoma has numerous scholarships available to local youth and young adults. Malia Batchelder is the Mat-Su Sertoma Summer Camp Scholarship Winner, and funds raised will send her on what has become a life changing adventure for previous winners.
During the event, several “ice berg” awards will be distributed to both individuals and teams for most money raised and best costume. The awards are inspired by the ice hole, traditionally cut by the insurmountable Gage Tree Service under the watchful eye of last year’s Sertoma Volunteer of the Year, Elton, and President Elect Paula Nance, they are truly are unique and coveted!
Les Helfrich, a six-time participant and jumper, has the honor of being the long standing “fund raiser” recipient. According to Helfrich, one of the best parts of the event was being able to share the experience with his foreign exchange students.
In addition to the costumes and a good cause, Helfrich said one of the main reasons he continues to participate in the event stems highly from the people and positive atmosphere. “When it’s time to jump, you jump,” Helfrich said. “Life is short. You’ve got to have a little fun! It something everyone should try at least once.”
More information can be obtained at www.matsuhearing.org.