“I’ve been to the end ceremony (where a check is given out to recipients), and it just touched me, so I said I am going to continue on,” he said. “I became very good friends with Brenda and Jamie Waters (organizers of the event), so I do it every year and help cut the hole (in the ice).”
Erway said people have called him crazy for jumping into the freezing-cold water in the middle of winter, but he said he loves doing it.
“It is a shock when you get in there, but when I come out I am good to go,” he said. “It is my halfway point for the winter, and I am revitalized and ready to go.”
According to Erway, the key to having a good jump is having no wind. This year was pretty ideal when it came to that, he said.
Steven Meade agreed with Erway about the wind, saying, “The less wind the better.”
This marked Meade’s third year taking the plunge. The Milford resident said once he did it, he became addicted. He was one of the participants who try to find a creative way to enter the water each year. This year Meade chose to do a backflip.
Daryl Birdsall of Otego has been jumping for 12 years, and partnering on the ice blocks with his niece Monica for nine. He said he comes back every year because it is a good cause, and it provides an adrenaline rush.
Birdsall said he began participating because of his mother.
“My mom actually jumped, and I could not let my mom outdo me,” he said.
“Actually, the first time I jumped was the worst because it was like -25 degrees with the windchill that year,” he added. “In terms of actually hitting the water, I try to do something new each year. This year I did a belly-whopper, and next year it will be something different just to make it interesting.”