PREPARING FOR THE PLUNGE: Local ‘Polar bear’ ready to support Habitat for Humanity

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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When Forrest Lee was six months old, his family moved from the sunny warmth of Albany, Georgia to the icy hinterlands of Alaska.

“I was raised on polar bear milk and my brother’s chore was to milk our bear, Scar Face,” Lee said in explaining why he was so eager to be the first entry in the Polar Bear Plunge at the outdoor pool at the Troy Recreation Center on January 25.

Of course, Lee was joking about being raised on polar bear milk and living in Alaska. But, he was not joking about his eagerness to enter the Polar Bear Plunge, which is a benefit for Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity.

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“Some time back Dianna Lee, Beth Stubblefield and I were talking about a fund raiser for Habitat and the idea of a Polar Bear Plunge came up in kind of a hap-hazard way,” Lee said. Dianna and Beth are on the Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity board and that’s how the Polar Bear Plunge got started.”

Lee is aware of the growing number of families that have benefitted from Habitat homes.

“So many people in our community have chosen to give back to those in need through their support of Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity,” Lee said. “They are special kinds of people. So, when I heard that ‘the Polar Bears are coming’ and what it was all about, I wanted to be the first one to take the plunge and I hope it’s a cold, cold day on January 25.”

Lee is preparing to take the plunge and he’s considering several options.

Maybe, just shorts and a shirt or, perhaps, a wool coat, gloves and hat. Maybe a wet suit or something creative like a polar bear costume.

But whatever attire he chooses for “the plunge,” he will not plunge cold turkey.

Lee is practicing and was at the rec center Tuesday afternoon. He guzzled down polar bear milk, doused himself with ice cold water and took the plunge.

Lee is not advocating any of his “getting ready” techniques but he does encourage others to join him in taking the plunge.

“The Polar Bear Plunge is for a great cause,” he said.  “Everybody needs a place to call home. This is what I can do to help make that happen for families in Pike County.”

The water may be cold but the hearts of those who take the plunge will be warm, Lee said.

Dianna Lee, Troy/Pike Habitat for Humanity board member and public relations and fundraising chair, said individuals and corporations are “jumping in.”

“We are getting calls from people and businesses wanting to be involved,” Lee said. “It’s very exciting.”

She said anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to take the plunge for a donation of $25.  All Polar Bear plungers will receive an event T-shirt, a plush polar bear and other goodies.

Corporate sponsorships are available for $100, $200 and $300.

For more information or to enter, call Dianna Lee at 334-807-5113.