OSKALOOSA — While it was a chilly, rainy and dreary day in Oskaloosa on Wednesday, things brightened up late in the afternoon.
That's because more than 280 people helped in a fund-raiser for Tyler Zickefoose, who was severely injured in an ATV accident on Easter.
The Polar Plunge event was organized by Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont wrestler Hunter Johnston and raised more than $15,000 for Zickefoose.
As soon they completed their jump into the chilly 55-degree water with air temperatures hovering in the low-to-mid 40s, the jumpers got out and tired to get warmed up.
"I've been friends with Tyler for a while so I figured I could do what I could to raise money for him," Johnston said. "He's a pretty good wrestler so we're just trying to help each other out."
With so many people helping out, the jumpers were separated into smaller groups as not to hurt anybody.
Athletes and students from Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and Oskaloosa participated along with some William Penn athletes and local teachers.
"It's crazy. You just have to make sure you don't hit anybody," Johnston said of the turnout. "I've been out for a while and I'm still freezing."
Tyler's father, Shane Zickefoose, was at a loss for words how much support his son and his family were getting from the community.
"Overwhelmed and unexpected," he said. "It's an amazing community and it's why I live where I do. I don't know what else you could ask for."
Zickefoose added something his wife, Mindy, said, "When you grow up in a small town, you figure out, you plan how can I get out this small town. You plan and scheme your entire life and something like this happens and you realize this is where you're supposed to be. There's nothing better than a small town."