Harry Bull’s commentary about the freezing temperatures was short and sweet.
“That was cold,” Bull offered mere moments after he’d dumped a full bucket of ice-cold water over his own head on the lawn in front of the Cherry Creek Educational Services Center on Aug. 19. There was little time for shivers or gasps. The Cherry Creek School District superintendent was intent in moving on and issuing his own ultimatums. Bull had a ready list of people he wanted to see take part in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
“Now I extend the challenge, first off to the Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher and secondly, my colleague Scott Murphy, superintendent of Littleton Public Schools,” he said, his dress shirt, tie and slacks freshly soaked with frigid water. “Third, the challenge goes to members of the district leadership team of Cherry Creek Schools. All of you have 24 hours to meet the challenge.”
Bull had personal reasons for taking part in the viral campaign to raise awareness and raise money for the ALS Association and its efforts to combat the disease. They’re the same reasons that spurred him to encourage his colleagues and fellow CCSD employees to take part.
Nancy Tamer, the mother of one of Bull’s close family friends, lost her life to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to the ALS Association, more than 12,000 people in the U.S. have a definite ALS diagnosis. The silliness and spectacle of Bull’s ice water bath was secondary to honoring Tamer’s memory, supporting research and continuing the fundraiser across the district.
“I want to keep this alive in Cherry Creek,” Bull said. “The research for ALS is important, and when you have a challenge like this, you ought to take advantage of it.”
With challenges issued to six members of the district leadership team, as well as the Arapahoe County Sheriff and the Littleton Public Schools superintendent, Bull found a way to keep the cause alive and get over his own nerves.
“I think I’ll be OK,” Bull said a few seconds before the dump, “as long as I don’t have a heart attack.”
In little more than a month, the ice bucket challenge has ballooned into a global sensation, raising more than $15 million for the ALS Association. The rules are simple. Taking up the challenge means getting dumped with freezing water and donating $10 to the ALS Association within 24 hours, or skipping the ice water and donating a full $100.
Two different people issued the challenge to Bull: Grandview High School teacher Scott Bond and the superintendent’s “dear, loving brother,” Cherry Creek Director of Activities and Athletics Larry Bull.
“It’s getting him back for all of those years, because I’m the much younger one,” Larry Bull said between giggles a few minutes before his brother’s cold-water bath.
In the end, any kind of sibling rivalry was a very minimal part of the spectacle. After Bull wiped the water from the eyes and headed upstairs to find a change of clothes, his focus returned to the memory of a dear friend.
“I accepted this challenge to honor her memory,” he said.
He’s given eight others a chance to do the same.
-- Posted Aug. 19, 2014