PLATTSBURGH - A large, steel "K" rests on the frozen pond at CVPH Medical Center, and it's only a matter of time before it goes crashing through the thick layer of ice.
The lonely letter of the alphabet isn't out there as some fraternity prank, but was rather put there Jan. 16 as a fundraiser and way to raise awareness of the work of the Plattsburgh Noon Kiwanis Club.
"It's an annual thing; I can't even tell you how many years we've been doing it," said club president Kimberly D. Kleist.
Each year, a group of the club's members waits for the pond to freeze over then brings the 350-pound K out of storage and places it on the ice. The club sells tickets at $5 a piece and has people write down the day, hour, minute and second they think the K will fall through.
"It has to fall completely through, it's not like when the first leg goes through," Kleist explained.
In order to make sure everything is on the up and up, a camera mounted on the south end of the hospital building monitors the K's status in real-time. When it finally falls through, the K-Melt committee reviews the footage to determine the exact time the K took the plunge.
When it happens, the person who guesses the time closest to the actual time without going over wins a third of the money collected from ticket sales over $3,000, or a minimum of $1,000. Last year's winner took home $1,542.50.
The remainder of the money is divided among the Foundation of CVPH and the Plattsburgh Noon Kiwanis Club. The money for the CVPH foundation goes toward a fund for those who need to travel to hospitals other than CVPH for services. The money for the Kiwanis Club is used toward activities which benefit youths, the elderly and the community at large, said Kleist.
Given the current state of the economy, Kleist added, the K-Melt is an important fundraiser for the Kiwanians. The club's last big fundraiser, Radio Day, fell $2,000 short of its $15,000 goal.
"That's why this one is so important," said Kleist.
With the K now in position, it's only a matter of time before it falls through and someone collects some money, she said.
Last year, the K fell through April 4. In the two years prior, it fell through in the last week of March.
"Last year, was actually quite late," she said. "The ice is really thick in that pond. Even though we tend to get a thaw in February, it never goes through."
Tickets will be sold until Thursday, March 19, and are available from Kleist by calling 562-2609 or any Plattsburgh Noon Kiwanis Club member. The club will also have tickets for sale at the booth they regular host at Champlain Centre, 60 Smithfield Blvd., every Saturday, in front of Hannoush Jewelers.