The big splash! Lake Jump raises funds for county veterans

May 3, 2014
LPD Chief Mark Barnett and Sheriff Kim Cole bask in their post-jump victory.

LPD Chief Mark Barnett and Sheriff Kim Cole bask in their post-jump victory.

Jesse Raymond, a disabled veteran from Free Soil was among the participants.

Jesse Raymond, a disabled veteran from Free Soil was among the participants.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

See video below. 

LUDINGTON — Though the 14th Ludington Lake Jump was moved back to the beginning of May, rather than the end of March, Lake Michigan just seemed a little colder to repeat jumpers.

“It was definitely cold,” said Rep. Ray Franz. “This was my third time and it just seemed a little colder this year. But it was definitely worth it considering the organization we were helping.”

The benefactor of this year’s Lake Jump funds is the Mason County Veterans Endowment Fund, which supports the unmet, emergency needs of veterans and their families who reside in Mason County.

Jesse Raymond of Free Soil is one of those veterans. Raymond, a Navy veteran, was injured in the early days of the attack on Afghanistan. He is paralyzed from the waste down. But, that didn’t stop him from jumping in the lake.

“I just wanted to do this to help out veterans,” he said after the jump. “I’m not sure why everyone is complaining though, I couldn’t feel anything,” he joked. “OK, I could tell that it was cold.”

Sheriff Kim Cole participated in his second jump.

lake_jump_2014“It gets real when you go under the water,” Sheriff Cole said. He and Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett had a running challenge against each other to raise funds. The two jumped in together and came out of the water giving each other high-five’s.

Dr. Rick Plummer, a Navy Vietnam combat veteran, is one of the founders of the veterans endowment. This was also his third time to jump.

“We had great participation,” Plummer said. “Everyone was jazzed up and excited. I think we did well.” Plummer did not immediately have the figures on how much money was raised.

Larry Moorlag of Riverton Township is an Air Force veteran. He said he too has jumped before but this time was a little more special.

“I just felt I had to do this one,” Moorlag said. “I served in the Air Force and wanted to help out my fellow veterans who are in need.”

Mayor Ryan Cox runs out of the water.

Mayor Ryan Cox runs out of the water.

The Lake Jump started in 2000 by WMOM radio as a way to relieve the winter blues. The next year, station owner Patrick Lopeman decided to kick it up a notch and turn the event into a fund raiser for local charities. Eventually, the Ludington Lake Jump became its own entity and has, as of 2013, raised $357,063.

The event was originally scheduled for March 29, but Stearns Park beach was nearly inaccessible at that time and there was a considerable ice build up along the lake shore. It was then moved to April 12, however conditions didn’t change much.

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