Tri-City businesses take on Ice Bucket Challenge (and open their wallets)

By Sara Schilling Tri-City HeraldAugust 22, 2014 

William Easterbrook came prepared. He brought a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops to wear so his normal work clothes wouldn't get drenched.

He donned a hard hat.

And he braced himself.

"It's going to be really cold," he said, glancing at two front-end loaders filled to near-overflowing with gallons of water and about 100 bags of ice. Within minutes, the water pounded down.

Easterbrook was right. It was cold.

Really, really cold.

It was also for a good cause. Easterbrook and dozens of other employees of McCurley Integrity Dealerships in Pasco took part Friday in an Ice Bucket Challenge -- the fundraising and awareness campaign that's gone viral in recent weeks.

The idea is to endure being drenched by a bucket of ice water or make a donation for ALS research, though many people have been choosing to do both. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The McCurley crew was challenged by Toyota of Tri-Cities. And before the water rained down from the front-end loaders on Friday, the McCurley general manager, Craig Cavanaugh, passed on the challenge to the company's advertising agency and to Dealers Auto Auction in Spokane.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been wildly successful, with the ALS Association reporting Friday that it has received more than $53 million, compared with $2.2 million in late July and August last year.

McCurley is donating $50 for each employee who participated in Friday's challenge, with some employees kicking in a match.

The company isn't the only one in the Tri-Cities getting drenched and raising money for the cause. Others include Gesa Credit Union -- which wrote on Facebook that it's donating $500, plus kicking in an extra $1, up to $1,000, for every "like" its challenge video garners -- and Anderson Law in Kennewick.

The law firm is donating to a local family affected by ALS as well as the ALS Association, said Jazmin Santacruz with the firm.

At McCurley on Friday, employee Angela Weissenberger-Pedroza said she's glad to see awareness of ALS building, noting it's personal to her -- a friend has been touched by the disease.

She was part of the group that got drenched. Before the water came cascading down, the crew squeezed close. There was a countdown.

There were cheers.

Afterward, Randy Jordan, who works in sales, said the water was "way colder than I thought."

And there was a lot more of it than he expected.

But, "McCurley always does things big," he told the Herald. "We were challenged, and we think we met that challenge in a big way."

-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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