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Family of Antwerp man killed in car crash will take Polar Plunge in his honor

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When Cynthia P. Tyler and her 17-year-old son, Corbin D. Roe, of Antwerp, take the plunge into the frigid Lake Ontario on Saturday, they’ll be doing it for Jake.

After many years of wanting to participate in an arctic plunge, Jacob T. Tyler planned to take part in the 2014 Oswego Polar Plunge on Saturday.

Mr. Tyler died in a car accident in the early morning hours of March 17 on County Route 20 in Philadelphia. He was driving to a work site in Auburn, Cayuga County, when his car struck two horses that had sprung loose from a nearby farm. He was 36.

Mr. Tyler worked long hours as a pipe fitter for the UA Local 73, based in Oswego, his wife said. That morning, as on many others, he left early to go to work.

Mr. and Mrs. Tyler’s youngest son, Liam, 7, is autistic, and when Mr. Tyler learned that the plunge was to benefit the Special Olympics, he wanted to do it.

“It became something really, really important,” Mrs. Tyler said. “This is what he really wanted to do.”

She said her husband had wanted to do more charitable work, especially for a cause with a direct impact on their family’s lives.

“He wanted to support an organization that might someday support his son,” she said.

In his honor, Mrs. Tyler created Jumping For Jake. Seeking to reach the $200 goal that her husband had established, she sought out friends, family, local businesses and even comic book writers to contribute.

Mrs. Tyler, a comic book fan, contacted Kelly Sue DeConnick, who writes Avengers Assembled and Captain Marvel for Marvel Comics. In a March 20 post on the microblogging website Tumblr, Mrs. Tyler said she was halfway to the $200 goal and provided a link where others could donate. With all the exposure, as of Tuesday evening, she had received nearly $2,500 in donations from across the country.

“It’s more than he could have ever hoped for,” she said.

Mrs. Tyler said her husband’s family in Iowa, where he was born and raised, has worked with a local church to donate. Mr. Tyler’s employer, Schambaugh & Son, an engineering company based in Fort Wayne, Ind., also has contributed to the cause. Mrs. Tyler said other local businesses, including her employer, Brownell Abstract Corp., 135 Park Place, have chipped in, as well.

What’s more, dozens of other donors, many of whom remained anonymous, have contributed to the cause, as shown by the “Honor Roll” on the team’s page that lists each donation.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “These perfect strangers that I’ve never met wanted to help.”

Her team is firmly entrenched in the echelon of top earners. While she said the support she and her family have received was “overwhelming,” she emphasized that donations to any team involved is just as helpful, as all the money collected supports the Special Olympics.

The Saturday plunge will take place at Wright’s Landing Marina in Oswego. Registration and check-in run from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. before the 1 p.m. plunge.

Each year, organizers select an organization, law enforcement agency or person to start off the event by carrying a symbolic torch and entering the water. This year, it will be the three Tyler children, Corbin, Liam and their 9-year-old sister, Trinity.

“It’s a bright spot in a horrible tragedy,” Mrs. Tyler said.

Those interested in donating to Jumping For Jake can visit the team’s website at http://wdt.me/LwJVVA or PolarPlungeNY.org and click on the link for the Oswego Polar Plunge.

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