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More people take the (Polar Bear) plunge

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
The Connellsville Polar Bear Club has been welcoming new members and taking the plunge at Yough Park on New Year’s Day for the past nine years. The original members have brought their family members into the tradition as well. Those original members, with their sons, looking forward to the 10th anniversary are Michael (left) and Nick Jacobyansky, Mike Parlak, Bruce Jaynes, Frank Jacobyansky, Jamie McPoyle and Mason Jaynes. Lori C. Padilla | For the Daily Courier jan 2013

The Connellsville Polar Bear Club River Jump continues to be a growing tradition.

Participants come from surrounding communities and from great distances. This year's participant count was 450 Polar Bears, 193 new jumpers and 257 experienced jumpers. The oldest was 76, the youngest was 4 years old.

“We had some visitors from Ohio, Virginia and Rhode Island who took the plunge into the Youghiogheny,” said Nancy Jacobyansky, one of the event organizers. “A guess would be at least 200 spectators.”

The event — in its ninth year — was held on New Year's Day at Yough Park in Connellsville.

“This was one of the coldest years for three reasons — the water was cold, the air temperature was cold and there was snow on the ground. But it was still loads of fun. We filled two trucks with food donations for the St. Vincent de Paul Society,” she added.

Tom Whelan of St. Vincent de Paul Society said the Connellsville Polar Bear donation will allow the society to meet emergency food needs for those in need.

“This is a generous group of folks. It was a very large amount of needed items,” he said. “We distribute quite a few food baskets throughout the year and we appreciate the Polar Bear Club efforts.”

Additional photos and information about the Connellsville Polar Bear Club are on the group's Facebook page.

Those who jumped and those who didn't can still order T-shirts and group photos by sending their order to the Jacobyanskys at 1131 Vine St., Connellsville PA 15425. The deadline is Feb. 1.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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