Army soldier thanks Libby Polar Bear Club
Taking the plunge for the 101st
Polar Bear Club President Rick Klin takes the plunge to initiate the 101st Airborne Division into the Libby Polar Bear Club.
3-1/2 years after his absentee induction plunge while stationed in Iraq
June 21, 2011
In December of 2007, the Libby Polar Bear Club received an e-mail from Butte, Montana soldier SSG Keith Wriston stationed in Iraq asking if his Division could qualify to be "honorary" members in the Libby Polar Bear Club due to some unusual circumstances they are undergoing: their hot water heater had gone out and 130 members of their division were forced to take showers in 35 degree cold water.
Polar Bear Club President Rick Klin, wrote back and said taking cold showers did not qualify them for membership into the club (he takes one every day), however if they sent a photo, club members would "plunge" for them in absentia allowing them to join. No photo from them arrived in time, so Polar Bear Rick had a "Plan B" and pre-made a sign for them, along with an American flag, and he personally took the plunge into the icy waters of Libby Creek on their behalf, allowing all 130 members to become members.
Fast forward 3-1/2 years: On June 21, 2011, we received an email from the soldier from the 101st Airborne Division who began this story:
"Please forward my deepest thanks to the Libby Polar Bear Club members. I am sorry this response is so late. I appreciate the actions and the demonstration of support of the troops fighting in hostile areas overseas. That is why when I retired in 2010 I moved back to the great state of Montana. I have met many people from all over the world and can not express the togetherness of the people of Montana. It truly is a unique state. I ran across the pictures on the website (http://www.libbymt.com/news/2008/01/LibbyPolarBearNewYea.htm) tonight for the first time. I did not even know that these pics were out there. When a soldier is in Iraq or Afganistan or any other place that keeps them from their loved ones it is the little things that people do that that carry the soldiers on. It is appreciated if not always acknowledged. I thank you again for the support you show for the soldiers I was stationed with and for all soldiers overseas in harms way. Hopefully I will be able to come up to Libby and take the plunge myself one day. But for now a grateful thank you from Butte."