If you eat your Sauerkraut, Mom will jump in the icy river!

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What started as a way for Kay Hannold to coax her boys to eat Sauerkraut on New Year’s Eve has turned into an annual event and a way to help some kids go to college.
In 2009, Hannold told her sons, Matt and Josh, she would jump into the freezing cold waters of Sugar Creek in Cooperstown if they would just eat their Sauerkraut, a New Year’s tradition for the Hannold family her sons didn’t exactly appreciate.

“They still don’t like it,” Hannold said.

They did manage to suffer through it though, just to see their mom jump into the creek.

And she did.

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The boys joined her when she made good on her bet that first year for fun.

The following year, her boys and niece, Shanelle Peters, decided to reenact the event, sans the eating of the sauerkraut, to raise money for the newly formed scholarship fund in memory of their former coach Roy Sanner, who died a year earlier in a motorcycle accident.

Each year, the Roy Sanner Memorial Scholarship gives out scholarships in the amount of $1,014.74 to students at Cranberry and Rocky Grove High School, according to the scholarship founder Ken Brannon. Last year, they gave out eight scholarships.

The odd amount represents the number of points Sanner scored in his basketball career at Cranberry High School. The 74 cents represents the year he graduated. Sanner went on to become coach and athletic director at Rocky Grove High School. He coached both Hannold’s sons and her niece.

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The Sanner scholarship has given out over $60,000 to 35 different students at Cranberry and Rocky Grove. They hold a basketball tournament and golf outing to raise the majority of the funds. The polar plunge is added to that.

Each year, they get a handful of participants for the polar plunge, which has been kept small by the families involved. They have had as many as 14 one year. They put out a donation can at the event and whatever the participants and spectators want to contribute is what they get.

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This year they raised $323 from the couple dozen spectators and jumpers. This was the highest amount they raised so far.

Around ten braved the cold water Saturday with the jump temperature at 7 degrees and wind chills that made it seem much colder.

Cooperstown VFD ambulance was on stand by to be sure everyone was safe.

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Further donations can be made to the Roy Sanner Memorial Scholarship Fund through Bridge Builders Community Foundation.

About the Author

Richard Sayer
Staff photographer at the Derrick and News-Herarld newspapers in North Western Pennsylvania.