I’ve been writing these columns for several years now and quite often we get letters from folks who disagree with my view on things and basically tell me to go jump in a lake.
Well, now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. I am finally going to take your advice.
But I’m not doing it because I am wrong, rather because it is the Right Thing To Do.
This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for the third consecutive year, Exodus Housing of Sumner is hosting its “Take the Plunge Against Domestic Violence” fundraiser at Allan Yorke Park.
The event is the brainchild of Exodus Executive Director Joe O’Neill. Each fall O’Neill lines up a bunch of crazies – many of whom wear silly costumes – to jump into the chilly waters of Lake Tapps.
I watched it last year, safely dry on the shore, and got some great pictures for the front page.
This year, I am apparently one of the crazies.
I’m not sure how it happened, to be honest with you, but I think it has something to do with early-morning meetings.
Our paper has a meeting with the advertising staff and managers every Wednesday morning and since I am filling in as interim editor, I am expected to attend.
Last week, we were talking about what editorial has coming up and I mentioned the Plunge and that I thought it was a good cause and only $50.
Next thing I knew, the room was taking up a collection and yours truly was on his way to a chilly, chilly Saturday morning.
I’m fairly sure that had the meeting been at 11 or noon, I wouldn’t have fallen for this. One of the reasons I became a journalist was to avoid mornings. Until now it has worked.
But now that I am jumping, this is your chance to get involved, too. I have set up a donation page and we are now collecting money from anyone else who wants to see me jump in the lake, with every dollar going to Exodus House.
That’s right, you get to see me jump in a lake AND you get to help support a great cause, all at the same time.
Exodus House provides temporary housing to families fleeing from a domestic violence situation at home. According to O’Neil, they are presently helping 42 local families restart their lives.
“Unfortunately, there’s way more families out there looking for help than we can provide for,” O’Neil told the Bonney Lake City Council Oct. 9.
And while there is a fundraising component to the Plunge, it is more a metaphor than anything else.
“Jumping in the water is something of a shocking, symbolic issue,” he said, explaining that families stuck in an abusive situation never know what to expect when they arrive home and can often be shocked by abuse when they open the door.
I personally come from a good home with an excellent, supportive father who, along with my mother, taught me to treat women right and respect them as equals. I also just married an exceptionally strong woman who takes no guff from anyone, especially her new husband.
But both my mother and my wife were in abusive situations at one point in their lives before their current relationships, so I know domestic violence can happen to anyone and affects us all.
In fact, O’Neil is insistent that domestic violence is not a women’s issue, but a men’s issue as we are the ones who can put an end to it.
So here goes nothing. I’ve got my water wings ready and a costume picked out and everything.
All we need now is you. If you’d like to help, please click here and make a donation. No amount is too small and it all goes to a great cause.
Then come on down to Allan Yorke Park in Bonney Lake on Oct. 27 and watch me, Fire Chief Jerry Thorsen, Bonney Lake Police Chief Dana Powers, Sumner Police Chief Brad Moeriecke, and members of the Bonney Lake and Sumner city councils and administration all Take the Plunge Against Domestic Violence.
And I’ll work on moving those meetings to later in the day so next year I can stay dry.