PLUM ISLAND – Nate Allard, as president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, usually wears a shirt and tie to important chamber events.
But not on Monday. Allard has threatened to wear just a winter hat and speedo swim trunks when he and Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon plunge into what is likely to be ice-cold ocean waters off this island.
“That’s actually not true,” Allard said of the speedo. “But it won’t be a wetsuit. That would be cheating. People need to see pain on my face before they give.”
On a day when the temperature is expected to reach a high of only 32 degrees and headed for a low of 14 with 17 mile-an-hour winds, the plunge is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28.
Meant to be all in good fun and hopefully raised money for the chamber’s charitable foundation, the event will happen next to Georgie Porgie’s at the Beachfront in the Newbury section of the island.
The mayor and chamber president, if they survive, will gather with the well-wishers and contributors for the post-event toast at The Sunset Club.
Allard has already raised $3,000 as of last week. Reardon, who will have been in City Hall’s corner office only two months at the time of the plunge, promised he will raise $5,000.
“We need something fun,” Allard said. “We need some smiles. Everyone is so stressed out.”
The foundation currently uses its funds for Newburyport beautification projects. Allard, also in his first year at the helm of the chamber, believes the foundation can play a larger role. He said he plans to work closely with City Hall to “increase the fundraising efforts of the Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation so that we can work towards providing annual scholarships to students, awarding mini-grants to small business owners, and increasing our beautification efforts beyond Newburyport.”
Donations can be made in cash, check or Venmo. Checks can be made out to the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce Charitable Foundation and sent to the chamber office, 38R Merrimac St., Newburyport 01950.