Hallikas challenges council to take ‘Polar Plunge’ Funds to go to new library

The gauntlet is down.
Fort Frances Coun. Andrew Hallikas officially has challenged the rest of town council to participate in the Voyageur Lions’ “Polar Plunge” on New Year’s Day in support of the “Building for the Future” fundraising campaign for the Fort Frances Public Library.
“Failing their acceptance of the challenge, they are more than welcome to sign my pledge form and show their support with a donation,” Coun. Hallikas added in an interview yesterday afternoon.
He said he was at a library board meeting yesterday and made the decision at that time to take the “plunge.” But Coun. Hallikas won’t be alone—he signed up his entire family.
“Some of them don’t know about this yet. All of the kids will be coming home for Christmas and jumping,” he remarked. “The only one I’m not sure I can commit for is my wife, Deb.
“That might require a little more persuasion.
“I’d also like to challenge members of the public,” added Coun. Hallikas. “If they don’t feel like jumping in support of the library, [they can] sign one of the pledge forms that will be at the Sportsplex or the library.”
The “Building for the Future” campaign has reached two-thirds of its fundraising goal of $750,000, having raised about $460,000 as of yesterday.
“That’s an indication of how this town rises to a cause and what a great cause this is,” enthused Coun. Hallikas. “It’s a great way to ring in the new year, either by jumping yourself or enjoying it vicariously by watching my family and I.”
Coun. Hallikas urged anyone else who wants to jump for the library to do so, and hinted chief librarian Margaret Sedgwick may even do so.
“She’s seriously considering it,” he remarked. “So if people felt like contacting her and encouraging her to jump, I’m sure for a generous pledge that she might actually do the jump.”
Coun. Hallikas had done the “Polar Plunge” every year but one in its existence here, and also has taken frigid dips in bodies of water elsewhere in the world.
“I’ve jumped in many lakes, and some say that has affected me,” he joked.
The “Polar Plunge” is set to go at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day at the dock behind La Place Rendez-Vous.
The Voyageur Lions is aiming to raise $25,000 this year. Last year’s “Polar Plunge” brought in just under $20,000.
Participating groups receive half of the net proceeds raised by member jumpers while those interested in jumping as individuals will raise funds for the Voyageur Lions Club.
A number of prizes also will be up for grabs that day, including individual prizes, best costume prizes, and an incentive for the group that raises the most money.
For this wanting to jump, pledge sheets are available at the Edward Jones office on Scott Street and La Place Rendez-Vous.
For more information on the “Polar Pledge,” contact Voyageur Lions Club president Bill Michl at 274-1329.