FAIRBORN — Fairborn firefighters are making waves in town with the “Cold Water Challenge” and most recently soaked the city manager for a good cause.
The popular social media challenge began in April and washed across the nation helping to raise funds for hundreds of charities. Beginning when the weather was still cold, people posted videos challenging a friend to jump in cold water and then pay $10 to a charity of the challenger’s choice. They were given 24 hours to complete the challenge or they had to donate $100 to the chosen charity.
Now in the summer months, the challenge is still gaining popularity but has evolved to include large tubs of ice water, or in this case, a fire hose. Firefighter Brian Bartels recently posted a Facebook video challenging City Manager Debbie McDonnell to get soaked and donate to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“I had not heard of the challenge until Brian tagged me,” McDonnell said. “But I said, ‘I’ll take that challenge.’ For me it was fun to be included in what our firefighters are doing, and it’s for a worthy cause. We have a phenomenal department, and I want to support them any way I can.”
The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.
McDonnell and Fairborn United Methodist Church Pastor Aaron Chivington, who was challenged by Firefighter John Howard, got hosed Saturday, June 7 following the church’s 5K. Dayton Sharks football players first drenched them with a tub of ice water. Wright State University mascot Rowdy Raider and Heater from the Dayton Dragons then sprayed them with the fire hose.
“I thought it’s a neat way to raise money for a good cause. I certainly didn’t know I’d get hit with water from a fire hose,” said Chivington. “I had fun with it, and I was honored to do it with Deb. We got to freeze together.”
“After the shock of the cold water, the warm water from the firetruck felt great,” said McDonnell, who had never had a bucket of ice water poured on her.
A video of the “dunking” can be viewd on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDLky_o2dYQ.
Although she completed the challenge, McDonnell still donated the full $100 for Fallen Firefighters. She then challenged Public Administrative Services Director Pete Bales, City Building and Grounds Maintenance Mitch Boedicker and former mayor Joan Dautel.
Chivington also donated $10 to the charity, and challenged City Solicitor Mike Mayer and Jamie Hensley, owner of Jamie’s Goodyear Tire & Service in Fairborn, Beavercreek and Xenia.