Sarah Stultz: Thank you for coming behind this cause

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

As I watched the crowd fill in at the bottom of the hill next to Edgewater Bay Pavilion on Saturday, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.

We started advertising for the Plunge for the Park early — just to test the waters — hopeful that we could have another good winter fundraiser for the inclusive playground.

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I was inspired by a similar event in a neighboring community that brings in more than $200,000 each year from its event. They have some prominent people in their community who promote it and rally support from the community.

Though I knew we’d never be able to reach the totals of that well established fundraiser, I was hopeful we’d see success at some level.

Right from the start, we were met with enthusiasm and excitement from many in the community.

When planning these community events, I’ve learned you never know what to expect — sometimes you have to just hope for the best.

It was a great feeling to see all of our hard work paying off as the teams came filing in and dozens more came in to support the plungers.

Luckily, the warm weather didn’t cancel our event like it did some of the other events slated for the Big Freeze. If anything, it might have actually helped draw in the audience more than we could have had otherwise.

Thanks to all the individuals who walked into the lake and braved the icy waters and for those businesses that supported them. Thank you also to those who sponsored a plunger and who helped contribute to the almost $15,000 raised that day for the playground.

Thank you also to our announcer for the day, Power 96’s Ron Hunter Budrik, and for Albert Lea Fire Rescue for preparing the area and making sure everyone stayed safe. The firefighters are hard workers and were willing to pitch in where needed.

I continue to be in awe at how this community comes together behind worthy causes time and time again.

It has been a long haul raising money for this playground, but we are getting so close!

Help us reach our goal!

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.