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Rotary raising funds with winter River Dunk

The Hudson Rotary Club is getting its feet wet with a new fundraising event this year. Participants will brave freezing-cold water to raise money for both Rotary and their own organizations in the area's first-ever St. Croix River Dunk Feb. 17.

The event was inspired by other plunges, including one held by the Forest Lake Rotary.

"We just saw it as a very good model that we could bring to western Wisconsin," said committee co-chair Kari Rambo.

As old fundraisers have been phased out, the River Dunk serves as a new opportunity for the club.

"We were trying to come up with creative solutions as to what is another form of philanthropy we can use to keep the funding levels at what we previously had been giving," Rambo said.

To participate, people or organizations can form a team, raise money, and then dive.

"We're really excited about the opportunity for the Hudson community to participate," said Hudson Rotary President Brian Hinz. "This is a way they can actually be a part of the event."

The event will raise money for Rotary as a whole, and individuals will raise money for the organizations they are representing. Rambo said the area has hundreds of organizations that qualify to participate, including local youth sports teams. Hinz said this event provides for a more direct relationship between Rotary and other local organizations.

"This is a good vehicle for the nonprofits to raise funds. It's also a great vehicle for them to raise awareness for their organization as well as us as a Rotary club," Hinz said.

River Dunk will take place at Lakefront Beach with music and an emcee, as well as warming tents and check in at Pier 500. St. Croix EMS, Hudson Police Department, and the St. Croix EMS Dive Team will all be at the event.

"Great engagement for our community and great fun, if you declare jumping into freezing water fun," Rambo said.

Costumes, as have been seen at other plunges, are more than welcome.

"People really get into it," Hinz said.

On dive day, Rambo said they hope to have about a hundred people ready for the dunk, making up about 10-12 teams.

From this year on, the event will be annual.

"It's going to build every single year and it just shows the commitment we have in our nonprofits and our nonprofits back to Rotary," Rambo said.

To join or learn more, Team registration ends on Jan. 31. Rambo said anyone representing a nonprofit is welcome.

"The only special skill is a little bit of bravery," Hinz said.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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