By now, almost everyone knows about the ALS ice bucket challenge, in which a person is challenged to have a bucket of ice water poured on that person; in doing so, that person also donates $10. Otherwise, the person challenged is asked to donate $100.
On top of that, the challenge has to be done within 24 hours. The latter was raised Tuesday, Aug. 26 by Polk County Commissioner Melony Bell. Along with Stacy Butterfield, County Comptroller and Clerk of the Courts, and Deputy County Manager William Beasley, Bell had accepted the challenge.
At 3 p.m., the three appeared at Fort Blount Park and before a gathering made up mostly of county employees, Bell, Butterfield and Beasley spoke of the challenge and why they had agreed to participate. It was at that point Bell referenced how the challenge was supposed to be done within 24 hours and that it was more than one day before she had agreed.
“No, I was not getting my nails done,” said Bell.
Prior to the dunking, Beasley was speaking to another county employee, Edward Wolfe, who is with the county’s IT department, and the former said he was going to publicly challenge Wolfe to partake.
“I’m all in it if you’re in it,” Wolfe replied.
The three had agreed to be part of the ALS ice bucket challenge because they personally knew people who had passed away as a result.
Following their brief presentations, the buckets of ice and water were ready to be spilled. Those having the honor of doing the pouring were County Manager Jim Freeman, who doused Butterfield. Bell had her ice and water shower performed by this year’s BOCC chairman R. Todd Dantzler. Assistant County Manager Lea Ann Thomas drenched Beasley.
All three reacted as thousands who have submitted to the challenge have, with screams, shivering and searching immediately for towels. All were good sports about their ordeals.
“It was cold, but fun and for a great cause,” said Butterfield. Bell called it a humbling experience for her. However, it turned out to be excruciating for Beasley. Unlike Freeman and Dantzler, who poured out the entire contents of their buckets all at one time, Thomas poured hers in slow fashion.
“I kept thinking, when is it going to end?” said Beasley.
What also was a surprise — at least to Bell — was the turnout; it was significant.
“I didn’t realize we were going to have an audience,” she said. Bell was then informed by Butterfield that Butterfield had sent emails to county employees about the challenge
As is part of the challenge, each person dunked also issues a challenge to others. Butterfield’s challenge went out to Winter Haven City Manager Deric Feacher and County Commissioner George Lindsey. Bell challenged Lance Fulse of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and all five Fort Meade commissioners: Rick Cochrane, Bob Elliott, Barbara Manley, Maurice Nelson and Jim Watts. Beasley, who already had challenged Wolfe nominated Dee Dee Beaver. However, Beaver, who was present, already had done the challenge, so Beasley instead challenged another county employee, Fran Mcaskill, who is with the Budget and Procurement division.
Lindsey and Wolfe agreed and tentatively set Friday, Aug. 29, following an agenda meeting.