MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (2/26/13) – This past Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day in Muhlenberg County but was it warm enough to go swimming? Despite the cold temperature and the 39 degree water temperature, approximately 300 supporters bundled up for the 4th Annual Penguin Plunge sponsored by the Muhlenberg County 4H Teen Club.
The event was held to raise awareness and funds for the Food for Kids Backpack Program. The Backpack Program provides backpacks with food for the approximately 450 Muhlenberg County students that are on the free and reduced lunch program and are given to the children to provide them food for the weekends. The cost of $100 per child will provide backpacks of food for the entire school year. Anyone that raised $100 or more was invited to take the plunge.
The plunge had always been held at Dogwood Lake but this year, the 4H club was able to hold the event at the Central City Convention Center using the new outdoor pool. The change in location brought more spectators to the event. Conner Cooper, 4H President and senior at MCHS said he was so glad to see the community come out to support this event. “It has definitely been a blessing from God.” Cooper said that the night before the event, over $25,000 had been raised toward the goal of $50,000 for the 2013-2014 school year.
Several teams were formed to take the plunge, including Old National Bank, First National Bank, Kroger, Central City Convention Center, Rotary Club, 4H Horse Club, 4H Teen Club, Longest Elementary School and The Penguins (MSES & MCTI) and The Chilly Willies. Debbie Ingram was the individual with the highest donation at $2156. The Chilly Willies was the team with the highest donation at $3782.
Everyone that braved the cold waters received a t-shirt. The winner of the Best Dive Contest was Mark “Tooth Fairy” Smith, Josh Spence was the winner of the Biggest Splash Contest. Each winner of the contests received a medal along with goodies from local restaurants. The judges for the contests included Muhlenberg County Sheriff Curtis McGehee, Central City Mayor Barry Shaver and Stacie Barton, Editor of Leader News.
Tommy Harrison, UK Extension Agent for 4H Youth Development for Muhlenberg County provided announcements and introductions of each participant. Plunge commentary was provided by Gail Johnson and Vicki Yonts. Wendell Miller, with Sight & Sound, provided the musical entertainment, including many songs related to “water” and “cold”.
Harrison reported to SurfKY.com that this fundraiser was for the 2013-2014 school year and that approximately $40,000 has been raised for the program. "We hope that this event will bring awareness of this program and more donations will come in to help us reach our goal of $50,000," Harrison said. If you would like to make a donation, you may stop by the UK Extension office or mail a check to 4H Backpack Program, 3690 St Rte. 1380, Central City, KY 42330.
Photos by Leigh Douglas
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