GRAFTON, Mass. – A frozen Silver Lake may have kept people from plunging into the water on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop Grafton resident Jack Z. Walker from raising money out in the cold.
Originally intended as a Penguin Plunge hosted by the Grafton Recreation Department, the fundraiser was cancelled when the lake froze over. But Walker took the plunge anyway to raise money for children who can't afford ski lessons in the winter and swimming lessons in the summer.
“I was fired up for this,” Walker said while he stood on the frozen beach. “It’s an important cause for me. My family and I were in a situation where I was unemployed for three years. There were a couple of people who helped keep our kids in sports while I was out of work.”
Dressed in black winter layers and a sign that read, "Support the town we love", he poked the ice with a broken hockey stick. No chance of a swim today. But he was determined to raise money for the Grafton Recreation Department no matter what.
Friends, family, and neighbors showed up. Money was stuffed in an envelope. Walker entertained the audience with pushups and a penguin belly slide on the ice.
"I'll stand here all day long if it will help get some donations," he said at noon.
By 4 p.m., as the sun was setting, he said via a Facebook message that he was still on the beach and raised about $500, but wasn't sure when exactly he would call it a day.
"Soon, never know," he said in the message. "Kids came by, dropped off $1, $2. That's the best."