By PETE KLEIN
Express News Staff
LONG LAKE -- When John Hosley was asked by Michael Marino, master of ceremonies for the Feelin' Long Lakey Polar Bear Plunge into Long Lake Saturday, Dec. 28, why he was jumping into the frigid water, Hosley replied, "I'm doing it for the Wounded Warrior Project."
It is the same reason 42 other participants also took the plunge into 33-degree water when the air temperature was about the same.
In addition to first walking into the cold water made accessible by a large cut in the about eight inches of solid ice on the lake, then completely disappearing below the frigid water, Hosley was awarded Best Costume for his Stars and Stripes swimwear. Naturally, John removed his signature cowboy hat before dipping his head into the water.
Other winners include the Miller Brothers, Dan, Sam and Ben, for their Best Plunge Technique; and Team Military Officers Association of America, William and Lorraine Hamelin, who won Highest Fundraising Team for raising $601 and came up from Oriskany to do it.
High Fundraising for an Individual went to Heather Daly, who raised $435. The total raised for the Wounded Warrior Project was $3,902.
Hundreds, dressed more suitably for the cold, damp weather, turned out to watch from the beach and the bridge over the lake.
This bit of early winter crazy fun was made possible by the Town of Long Lake Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department; Abenaque Order of the Eastern Star 745; and Long Lake Rescue Squad and Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department, whose members cut the ice and donned cold water rescue gear to stand by in the lake to help anyone who might need assistance.
Over 47,000 servicemen and women have been injured in recent military conflicts. In addition to the physical wounds, it is estimated as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment. The Wounded Warrior Project's 18 programs and services are structured to nurture the mind and body and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.
To donate to the Wounded Warrior Project go to www.woundedwarriorproject.org/