Randa Carroll (center), sister of Venecia Butler Benefield, was happy with Saturday’s Polar Plunge.

Kirsten Fiscus

Mayor Bill Baker said the 5th Piedmont Polar Plunge Saturday was fun, but he was glad when it was over.

About 20 brave hearted people donned bathing suits or other attire in the 26 degree weather and went into the 40 degree pool, all to provide funds for Venecia’s Foundation, which gives gift bags to those going through cancer treatment. The foundation added $1004 to its pocket. Venecia Butler Benefield’s sister, Randa Carroll, said she was happy with that amount.

When she spoke to those at the Piedmont Aquatic Center, she expressed her appreciation for their presence and reminded them that they had a good reason for being there. She said that Venecia herself had participated in the plunge.

“We thank everyone for supporting us and what we do even if it meant coming out and jumping into a pool in 20 something degree weather,” she said. “Everybody did it for fun, but they knew it was going for a good cause.”

She said she appreciated the city workers’ help and presence, including Craig Russell, who was the DJ for the day, and Lou Fagan, who served coffee and hot chocolate. She donated the money from that to the foundation. Cayce Grimes counted down the seconds for the pool jump.

Baker said as cold as it was, the pool wasn’t as cold as he thought it would be. He said he anticipated it to be colder probably because of the prolonged cold spell.

“We got in, jumped out and everybody went home,” Baker said. “We went into the changing rooms and got into dry clothes, went to McDonald’s and got a cup of coffee and went home. It was fun, but I’m glad it’s behind me. We’ll have another one next year.”

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