10 minutes and 19 seconds. That’s how long Nyack’s Jack Bozeat bobbed around for in the Hudson River on Sunday afternoon. With nothing more than a thin shirt and shorts, he seemed unfazed by the 39 degree water. He joined dozens of other brave souls who participated in the 6th Annual Penguin Plunge at Memorial Park.
Bozeat has been participating in the plunge for five years and the Stony Point Polar Plunge for four years.
“It’s mind over matter. If you don’t have a mind, then it doesn’t matter,” said Bozeat with a laugh. “I’m a lifelong Nyack resident.”
Check out the Penguin Plunge photo gallery here
“(Bozeat) works for the water company so he’s in his element,” said Barbara Noyes, executive director of the penguin plunge.
The plunge is a tax deductible non profit that raises money for local children with medical needs.
“This is run by all volunteers. They’re what makes it possible to give so much back to the families,” said Noyes. “The weather was great and the turnout was one of the biggest that we’ve had.”
Volunteers manned the registration and food tables. There were raffles being sold for an iPad 2, celebrity tickets and autographed merchandise.
Girl Scouts from Nanuet Troop 40203 volunteered for the day and helped to sell raffles. After helping out, two of them took the plunge as well.
“Our hands and feet feel numb, but we’re definitely doing it again,” said Nicole Baccaglini.
“We went out and said, ‘we’re doing it again next year,’” said Katie Martini, adding that they went in to their waist. “Next year we want to get our heads wet.”
They found out about the plunge from another Nanuet girl scout who was recruiting organizations and businesses for this year’s Nanuet Day.
This year's Penguin Plunge recipients are Max and Bree Hershkowitz from New Hempstead, who are fraternal 9 year old twins who were born extremely premature. Because of being born at 26 weeks, both children suffer from a number of medical conditions.
“I’m so excited. I was telling all my friends,” said the twins’ mother Isabel Hershkowitz. “It is such an alienated (feeling) when you have kids with special needs. With this event, we feel significant, like we mean something in the community. They (the twins) were so excited. They invited people from their school and the principal and their teacher came. There was a lot of support.”
The other recipient is 4 year old Isabella Ruggiero from Harrington Park, NJ, ten minutes from the Rockland border. As an 18 month old baby, Isabella was diagnosed with a malignant tumor, a neuroblastoma. Even though the tumor was removed, Isabella still receives treatment and has developed an extremely rare condition called OMS, which will have a permanent effect on her development and requires specialists in Chicago to monitor her condition.
Read more about the Max, Bree and Isabella in this Patch article.
The first recipient child was Emma Monahan, whose family came for the plunge on Sunday.
“My daughter Emma was the first Penguin Plunge kid. The plunge has just grown in popularity over the years,” said Emma’s mother Anne Marie. “I came to cheer everyone on. My husband and (other) daughter jumped in. It’s a wonderful day and it’s a lot of fun being here today.”
Ed Fisher of Children's Dentistry of the Palisades joined Noyes and Bozeat in the river on Sunday and through his patients’ pledges, he had raised $2,500 for the plunge
“I want to thank my committee for helping make this possible,” said Noyes. She listed off some of the emergency services that were on hand to help out that day:
- Piermont EMS
- Nyack FD
- South Nyack FD
- Ladies Auxiliary
- Tappan Zee HS Leos
- Piermont Fire and Rescue’s boat
- 1 Spring Valley firefighter also took the plunge