While some people celebrate their birthday with cake and ice cream, U.S. veteran Alfred Lambertson has other ideas.
At 88-years-old, Lambertson is still going strong and the veteran has no intentions of slowing down. In fact, Lambertson is doing quite the opposite, proving that age is but a number. He spent birthday number 88 by diving into freezing cold water, participating in not one, but two polar plunges.
If you are not familiar with the polar plunge, it is one a person or group of people jump into freezing water to raise money for a charity. This can be accomplished by jumping into a pool, lake, creek or any cold body of water you can find. Of course, with it being winter, it isn’t hard to find a spot of freezing water to jump into. For Lambertson, known as “Al” to family and friends, polar plunging is a tradition he shares with his family.
A U.S. Navy veteran from Keyport, New Jersey, Lambertson chose the ocean for his plunge. For the past five years, Lambertson has been participating in the Polar Bear Plunge at Seaside Heights. The event brings out thousands of participants eager to jump into the Atlantic Ocean for a good cause. Money raised from the Polar Bear Plunge goes directly to the New Jersey Special Olympics.
“I started simply because my granddaughter, Tiff, needed donations for the Special Olympics,” Lambertson says “I came to the event five years ago and thought, what the hell, let me take a dive in.”
The family first got involved with the Polar Bear Plunge several years ago. The veteran’s granddaughter, Tiffany Rowland, and her husband, Alan, were the first to take on the task. It great into a family tradition when Lambertson joined in.
Veteran And Family Raise Money For Special Olympics
Lambertson and his team are known as the “Bayshore Shrinky Dinks” and they have raised a total of nearly $65,000.
This year was a little different for Lambertson as he celebrates his 88th trip around the sun. He wanted this year to be special so he doubled up and did two polar plunges this year. His second freezing dip took pace at the Raritan Bay at Keyport Waterfront Park in Keyport — and it was a sight to behold.
Looking to step things up a notch, the veteran donned an American Flag Speedo as he tossed himself into the freezing water. But, with unseasonably warm temperatures that day, Lambertson decided to take a victory lap.
“It feels great,” he says. “Can’t complain. Being surrounded by family and friends has made it that much more special.”
While the time with family and fellow divers is fun, the Navy veteran keeps the true cause in mind.
“Diving in the freezing water for five minutes is nothing in comparison to what those with disabilities face every day,” he said. “Young or old, always try to make a difference. Never too early to start.”