Cold water challenge takes Marshall County by storm

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

By Rachel Cook

Staff Writer

Yet another Internet fad has made its way into the offline world, but unlike Angry Birds, this is no game.

The Cold Water Challenge reportedly began in April in order to raise money for a cancer patient's treatment, and it's still going strong now, spread via word of mouth and status update to places all over the country. It seems to have gained a foothold in Tennessee via the Oak Ridge Fire Department, who were using it to raise money for the Wounded Warriors, and via Grundy County, who joined together to raise money for a local toddler with juvenile diabetes.

Here in Lewisburg, the local fire department have become champions of the challenge, encouraging everyone from county politicians to police and Emergency Medical Service personnel to take part. They've doused at least a dozen people in the last week alone, including Jackie Robertson of the Lewisburg Police, County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, and Judge Lee Bowles.

So what exactly is the challenge? It began as something very similar to the Polar Bear Plunge, with people who were challenged heading to the nearest river, lake, or pond and wading in. After you were challenged, you tagged more people on Facebook, who would have to wade in turn. After wading you donated money to a particular cause.

However, since becoming a fad outside of Facebook, challenges are put out either face to face or through video recording, and wading into local bodies of water has been discontinued in favor of dumping a giant bucket of ice water onto someone's head.

However silly the challenge may sound, it's getting results. The fire department has already raised around $200 for the National Fallen Firefighters Association. Donations have also been made to cancer research organizations and the Fraternal Order of Police. So if you happen to be challenged this summer, why not go ahead and agree? There are worse things than getting soaked with cold water in the middle of 90 degree heat.