A Community Rallies For One Of Its Own
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Mother Nature was doing her part to provide the polar for a polar plunge event, to benefit an Oskaloosa teen who was injured on Easter Sunday in an ATV accident.
Nearly 300 volunteers lined up to take their turn leaping into the cold water, only to be greeted by a bitter cold wind upon getting out of the water.
Tyler Zickefoose was riding an ATV with his cousins Easter Sunday near What Cheer, Ia when the unthinkable happened. His two cousins escaped with only minor injuries, but Tyler was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital.
Tyler’s injury was the latest in a string of injuries to impact Oskaloosa area families.
The Zickefoose family has been an active family within the community, and Tyler’s injury drew the community around his family in support.
The polar plunge has been popular as individuals all around the Midwest have been seen leaping into random ponds and lakes in an effort to raise money for a sick Missouri child.
The idea caught hold with local resident Curt Spry, who then challenged his two children, who attend school with Tyler at Oskaloosa High School, to find 50 to 100 kids to take the plunge in his pool. Spry would then donate $5 for each kid who took the leap into the cold water.
“I am so proud of this community, of these kids, and the character they are showing,” said Curt Spry, the homeowner who donated the use of his pool for the plunge.
“This is going to be a long journey for the Zickefoose family and we’re going to have to continue to support all the functions that are going on,” Spry added.
That initial $5 dollar per-plunge donation eventually ballooned to $75 per-participant because of donations by other individuals.
The active 15 year-old Tyler is a member of the Oskaloosa Senior Babe Ruth team, and word of his injury hit hard with them.
The team’s first game after Tyler’s injury was especially tough for them. Tyler’s coach, Matt Saville, and the team decided to play the first out of the game one man short in honor of Tyler.
“When they [the team] came back and said that they loved the idea of playing the first out without the third-baseman, they were all in. That’s the motto we’ve tagged onto, that we’re All In, and we believe in #TylerStrong,” said Saville.
Saville then set in motion a benefit for the family, doing what they all do best, playing baseball. The benefit will be a match-up between the Oskaloosa Varsity Girls Softball Team taking on the Oskaloosa Varsity Boys Baseball Team on Friday May 9 (with a rain date of Saturday May 10th) with NO admission fee.
The action starts at 7:00 pm and ends at 10:00 pm at the Charlie Kentfield Babe Ruth diamond, located at the Lacey Sports Complex.
Before eventually taking the plunge himself, Saville described what he was thinking as he watched one youth after another leap into the pool. “Pride,” said Saville, who said it was “absolutely amazing”.
A smile comes across Saville’s face as Spry hollars out in the background that…in the next group of kids would be the 200th participant.
Saville said that the one common goal with all of these events is to help the family.
All proceeds from this benefit will go to the Zickefoose family.