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Freezing for a reason

January 16, 2013

Chad Cummings is pictured above as he gives instructions to the divers prior to the Deep Freeze Dip. 
Chad Cummings is pictured above as he gives instructions to the divers prior to the Deep Freeze Dip.
Deep Freeze ip at Lake Okabena
Forty-seven brave souls jumped in the 34 degree waters of Lake Okabena in Worthington on Saturday for the Deep Freeze Dip.

With final tallies not yet in, this year’s event has come very close to reaching it’s goal of raising $25,000 for the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim Program. As of Monday, over $23,000 had been donated and funds were still being accepted.

Raising $25,000 “would fund the program for about three years,” explained event organizer Chad Cummings. “That will allow us time to apply for some grants so the program will be self-sustaining in the future.”

The program was developed following the summer of 2011. Chad’s wife, Jami, had been enjoying her lunch near Lake Okabena and was driving around it prior to returning to work.

She saw someone in trouble out in the water, and while calling for help, began to head out to aid the person. As she was rescuing the person, she realized that it was a mother who had gone out to rescue her child. Jami was able to rescue both mother and child, and brought them safely to shore.

As a result of that, Jami wanted to do something that would help avoid any similar near-tragedies, or even worse.

Working with the YMCA, Jami and Chad realized that second grade youngsters were the most appropriate age for swimming lessons, and that children are not always getting the opportunity to learn to swim.

Funds from the Deep Freeze Dip last year were used to fund two weeks worth of lessons for second grade students throughout Nobles County. This year’s funds will be used to do the same.

Many area residents joined in, to help raise funds for the worthy cause. There were a couple of last minute cancellations, due to illnesses. All the dippers had raised over $250 individually to help fund the program.

Superman attire, Vikings purple, the Burger King costume, a sombrero and even a bikini were among the articles of clothing worn by the dippers. Jami wore a t-shirt, with “Freezing for a Reason” on the front, and “Yep, that cold!” on the back side.

Jason Kellen of Adrian was one of the larger fundraisers. “The businesses and people have really shown their support in Adrian,” Cummings pointed out. Kellen was able to raise over $3100 for the program.

Nobles County Deputy Melissa Weidert joined in the action, jumping into the lake just prior to her boyfriend, a driver for UPS.

This is the fourth annual Deep Freeze Dip, sponsored by Radio Works and the Southwest Minnesota Fishing Club. For the first two years, funds raised were given to Honor Flight Southwest Minnesota. Last year, funds were donated to begin the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim Program.

Plans are already underway for the fifth annual event, and Cummings is looking forward to again jumping into the lake.

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