Polar Bear Plunge Supports AASU Nursing Candidates
(January 14, 2009) The Polar Bear Plunge, a New Year's Day tradition that has been gaining in popularity on Tybee Island since 2000, has been supporting AASU nursing candidates for the past five years.
A crowd estimated at 3,000 came out to Tybee Island this past New Year's Day, with some 1,000 people taking a plunge in the chilly Atlantic. The Society of Forty Men or Eight Horses, a national veteran's organization, organizes the fundraiser event that benefits AASU nursing candidates.
The society, founded in 1920 by members of the American Legion who were World War I veterans, focuses on supporting nursing education, child welfare, youth sports and POW-MIA causes. Forty-or-Eight member, Don Ernst, was charged in 2005 with reorganizing the nursing focus and he turned to AASU's nursing program. Since then, the Polar Bear Plunge has raised scholarship money to help nursing candidates at AASU pay for tuition or other expenses. The 2010 event raised $5,000.
"My goal is to establish a fund to be able to award four $1,000 scholarships every year," Ernst said.
In late February or March, the organization will start accepting applications for scholarships and awards which will be made in June. Students who apply must submit an essay that explains why they want to become a nurse and declare an intent to work in the nursing field in Chatham County after earning a degree.