VIENNA, W.Va. – In keeping up with the trend to raise awareness, support and funds for research, area schools participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge Friday.
“We challenged ourselves to raise $1,000 in two days and we far exceeded that goal,” said Greenmont Elementary School Principal Brett Ubbens.
Between donations from teachers, administrators and students, the Vienna elementary school raised a total of $1,729.55 from Thursday morning to the end of the day Friday. These funds will be donated to the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association with the millions more generated through this challenge.
“Each year, we do several fundraisers, which includes about two that give back to the community, like this one,” Ubbens said. “We are a fortunate school and are trying to teach the kids to pay it forward and help those around you.”
Following the announcement of amount raised, Ubbens and about 25 teachers drenched each other in ice water.
Ohio Valley University began Friday with its version of the challenge, as about two dozen freshmen gathered in and around the fountain on the main campus, which was surrounded by orange 5-gallon buckets on loan from Home Depot.
“We think this is an awesome thing for OVU to do and we wanted to help them,” said Phil Nolan, pro department supervisor for the Vienna store.
In a twist of the traditional Ice Bucket Challenge, which was designed to raise awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, OVU chose to also donate funds to Parkinson’s Disease research.
“While we will be supporting ALS, we decided our freshman class would take on this challenge, not only as an orientation event, but also for Parkinson’s Disease, which affects one of our own,” said OVU director of marketing Marty Davis.
“We are supporting our family with this challenge,” said OVU vice president Jeff Dimick.
Larry Ice, recently retired OVU bookstore manager, has been fighting Parkinson’s for more than a decade and said he is touched the school thought of him.
“It’s very comforting to know people care about those with disabling diseases,” he said. “I am fighting the battle with all of my might with their help.”
While ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, Parkinson’s is a motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. To end the day, officials with the City of Belpre fulfilled their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in Howes Grove Park after Belpre City Auditor Leslie Pittenger challenged them following her own dousing in ice water Thursday evening.
Before closing the city building for the weekend, Safety-Service Director Dave Ferguson, Fire Chief Eric Sinnett, Mayor Mike Lorentz and Police Chief Ernie Clevenger doused themselves.
“All of the people I challenged (Thursday) night did theirs within the 24-hour window,” Pittenger said. “I am very proud of them.”
In the end, Dimick challenged West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Marietta College and Washington State Community College. Lorentz called out Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp and Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, while Sinnett challenged two fellow fire chiefs: Parkersburg’s Eric Taylor and Marietta’s C.W. Durham.
Between Clevenger and Ferguson, the entire Belpre Police Department has been named.