Coast Guard to take plunge for American Cancer Society

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— Coast Guard personnel are scheduled to jump into the icy waters of Resurrection Bay during the 24th Annual Polar Bear Jump charity fundraiser in Seward Saturday.

Since 1986 costumed Polar Bear Jump participants have braved chilly temperatures, falling snow and frosty waters to raise money for charity. The jump is the highlight of a four-day charity fundraising weekend in Seward, which includes a parade, winter carnival and bowling tournament all benefiting the American Cancer Society (Alaska Division) and Children with Cancer.

Nineteen members from local Coast Guard units, including Sector Anchorage, Maritime Safety and Security Team Anchorage, Marine Safety Detachment Kenai, the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang and the Coast Guard Auxiliary will take the plunge into Seward harbor Saturday afternoon wearing themed costumes.

“All the events and activities for the weekend directly support the treatment of children and adults who have cancer,” said Capt. Robert Forgit, Coast Guard retiree, who emcees the festival’s fundraising auction. “It’s an opportunity to bring Alaskan communities together for a great cause that’s fun to do and fun to watch.”

Alaskan Coast Guard units have taken part in the Polar Bear Jump for over twenty years. Early Coast Guard jumpers performed a ritual “Coat Rack salute,” arriving in dress uniform and stripping to swim trunks, baring chests painted with “USCG” in black letters.

Polar Bear Festival events begin Friday evening and run through Sunday afternoon. More information is available through the Seward Chamber of Commerce or by calling the ACS Polar Bear Hotline at 907-980-7925.

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