Rincon Police Chief Phillip Scholl never expected his duties to include being doused by a bucket of ice water.
Scholl joined other city representatives Tuesday in accepting the ice bucket challenge, the campaign sweeping the Internet to raise money and awareness for ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“No, I never thought that this would ever happen,” Scholl said. “But it’s for a good cause.”
Buckets of water and ice cubes were dumped — at varying speeds — onto Scholl, City Manager Wesley Corbitt, Councilman James Dasher and firefighter Lou Reed on the sweltering hot afternoon.
“It’s cold. It’s cold,” a soaked Scholl said afterward. “But on a day like this, it’s refreshing.”
Scholl and Corbitt both were issued the ice bucket challenge by Effingham County Commissioner Phil Kieffer. Scholl in turn nominated Rincon Elementary Principal Paige Dickey and her husband, South Effingham High Athletic Director Travis Dickey, and Corbitt challenged Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett, Guyton City Manager Robert Black and Interim County Administrator Toss Allen.
Paige Dickey responded immediately to Scholl’s decree, getting doused about half an hour after he did. In her case, though, it wasn’t just from the bucket of ice water.
A storm quickly moved into the area as students gathered outside to watch their principal take her turn in the challenge. As rain started to pound down, two RES parapros hurriedly poured the bucket over Dickey.
“(The rain) made it faster,” Dickey said with a laugh.
Dickey challenged all her fellow principals in Effingham County and her entire faculty and staff to follow suit. As of press time, Beth Kight (Ebenezer Elementary), Wallace Blackstock (Marlow Elementary), Aimee Dickerson (Ebenezer Middle) and April Hodges (South Effingham Middle) had taken her up on it, according to Dickey.
“I did not have any idea when I came to work I was getting dumped with an ice bucket,” she said. “However, Chief Scholl called and said he had challenged me, so I said, ‘Well, let’s go ahead and get it done.’ It was a great opportunity.”
Following their dunkings, Dickey and Reed both referenced the late Rob Porterfield. A longtime educator and former principal of Effingham County Middle School, Porterfield was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and died in December 2012.
Compared to the battle Porterfield and others have fought with ALS, a few freezing seconds were nothing to the ice bucket challenge participants.
“It’s all worth it,” Reed said. “If you see some of the people, like the Effingham County Middle School principal who was unfortunate with ALS, it means a lot to the kids and it means a lot to us. It’s definitely going for a good cause.”
The ice bucket challenge continued to spread, as Dasher challenged Effingham Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry, Effingham County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Bush and former IDA project manager Ryan Moore. Henry “returned the favor,” in his words, to Effingham Chamber Director Rick Lott and IDA board members Dennis Webb and Chap Bennett.
Whereas Scholl, Corbitt and Reed were doused by city employees, Dasher’s dunking came from someone closer to him. His fiancée Tina Campbell did the honors.
“I made sure to get this ring before I did that,” she joked.
Campbell slowly poured the bucket of ice and water over Dasher. Firefighter James Gerbasi was even more deliberate with Reed’s turn, to the point Reed yelled “Pour it!” before hopping up from his chair.
“I didn’t expect it to come that slow,” said Reed, who extended the challenge to Springfield Fire Chief Travis Zittrouer and County Fire Chief Clint Hodges.
The quickest pour was the one Scholl received from Cpl. Daniel Thompson of the police department. Holding the bucket over Scholl’s head, Thompson asked, “Any last words?” before feigning a count to three.
“One …,” Thompson said before skipping right over “two” and “three” and dumping the bucket’s contents onto his police chief. Scholl responded by referring to Thompson as “former corporal.”
While Dickey’s dousing didn’t go as planned — the quick burst of rain destroyed her sheet of paper with the remarks she planned to make — she thinks the campaign to raise money and awareness for ALS will have a lasting impact on her students.
“I think the kids will understand and, more importantly, they’ll remember,” Dickey said. “What we like to teach our kids isn’t just academics, but it’s about helping others.”