Ellendale Fire Chief Mark Lee and two others were on the Ellendale Fire Department team that took part in the Owatonna Polar Plunge last year at Lake Kohlmier all because of a dare from Steele County Deputy Troy Matejcek. This year with two new firemen, Lee volunteered them to jump on Saturday to bring the team up to five jumpers.

One fireman, Logan Busho, had jumped a few years ago at Beaver Lake. Busho gave the advice to pack a towel and jumping clothes, which can be fun costumes. Last year the Ellendale Fire Department team jumped in t-shirts, shorts and sandals. Then they put on the clothes that they came in, after all they were dry.

The team was nervous waiting to jump in and listening to others that had done it, some comments included:  "It was COLD," "That wasn't so bad" and "They would do it again."

Lee was saying that his first thought was THAT WAS COLD!! and it felt like 10 billion needles poking his legs as he walked out of the water. After about an hour he was warm and then full of energy. But not quite ready to jump in at that time.

One of the best parts of jumping in, which only lasts a few seconds, was the way out as you walk toward the warming tunnel.

By the way, Lee also said that about 12 Steele County Dive Team members line the area. Some even did the plunge.

Last year the Ellendale Fire Department team raised $500. In all $36,000 was raised with 175 people participating in the Polar Plunge, which is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Minnesota. The money raised will help pay for equipment, uniforms and fees.

Sign up online plungemn.org. You can also sign up the day of the event, January 30, at Lake Kohlmier, like 20 people did last year.

Thanks to the Owatonna Polar Plunge sponsors: City of Owatonna, Owatonna Park and Recreation and KRFO AM1390/KAT Kountry 105.

The Ellendale Fire Department jump is at about the 3:40 mark. Thanks to all who jumped last year. Good luck and have a freezin' good time this year as you take the plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota.

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