Community Impact Award Honoree

The McCarthy, Meyers and Bradley Families

Co-Founders, Long Beach Polar Bears

The group that would later become known as the “Long Beach Polar Bears”, started innocently on a Super Bowl Sunday back in 1998. Kevin McCarthy and Pete Meyers decided it would be fun to jump into the Atlantic Ocean for a quick dip before the game. Stories flew around town about how much they enjoyed their swim. One year later their friends, Mike Bradley and his brother P.J Brady, joined Kevin and Pete for a similar cold-plunge swim on Super Bowl Sunday.

“Paulie” was an active, loving, happy three year old boy who dreamed of growing up to become a lifeguard on the ocean. Paulie delighted in every summer day he spent on Monroe Boulevard Beach. He was a passionate young boy who loved fun and never missed an opportunity to perfect his skills and ride his boogie board in the waves. His greatest wish was to go to Puerto Rico one day and play on the beach. Unfortunately Paulie’s wish never came true. His life threatening disease ended Paulie’s life at four years on November 16th, 1997.

Patti and Mike Bradley searched for a fitting memorial to Paulie, a memorial that would keep his loving heart and generous spirit alive. It was P.J. Brady who then asked if an annual Polar Bear Swim could be that memorial and fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Metro New York. An idea was born.

Kevin and Pete generously and enthusiastically agreed that it was the perfect idea. Hence, on Super Bowl Sunday 2000, the newly founded Long Beach Polar Bear Club jumped into the freezing ocean with warm hearts, startled shouts and determination. The rest, they say, is history.

The Long Beach Polar Bear Swim is a annual fundraising event that helps to make wishes come true for other children living with life-threatening diseases. Now Paulie’s spirit is kept alive every Super Bowl Sunday, when an ever-growing community of family and friends join together to help make children’s dreams come true through their support of the Make-A-Wish Metro New York.

The Long Beach Polar Bear Club has raised close to $5 Million Dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.