Dozens in Florence plunge into the new year for a good cause

This year, the polar plunge raised $2,800 for suicide prevention.

Posted: Jan 1, 2021 3:49 PM
Updated: Jan 1, 2021 5:49 PM

Dozens of people in Florence took to the Tennessee River for the Polar Plunge on New Year's Day.

This polar plunge is different because it is raising money for suicide prevention. Organizers didn't hit their goal this year because of the pandemic, but said each dollar raised is an accomplishment.

"We didn't have any sponsors like we normally do, so it's a lot lower, but we're just proud to raise a dollar really," said event organizer, Melissa Miles.

This year, Josh and Melissa Miles helped raise $2,800 that will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, but this event almost didn't happen because of the pandemic.

"We don't want to spread the COVID, but we've seen firsthand and through studies that this isolation and fear, and everything going on in the world right now has increased the normal mental health problems 10-fold," said Josh Miles.

Josh Miles is a veteran, too, and said he started this five years ago to raise awareness about veteran suicide, but it's grown since then. Their message has stayed the same.

"It's a message of empathy. If you get people together that can relate to one another, then they are more likely to help one another. We don't want people to feel alone, because most everyone has felt alone at some point in your life, when in reality you're not. There are people out there that will love and help you and support you," said Miles.

Miles said he hopes anyone seeing this and needs help will reach out for it. He said things can get bad, but they will always get better.

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