Late Sunday afternoon, someone dumped a garbage can full of ice water on Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, Lt. Buck Clendennen and Sgt. Ricky Warwick. The same has since happened to District Attorney Brett Ligon, First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant and Investigator Joey Ashton with DA’s Office. It now appears no one is safe from bone chilling attack.
Anyone who frequents social media has probably seen videos of people having large amounts of ice water poured over their heads. It’s called the “cold water challenge.” While someone could probably have sold raffle tickets to do the deed to Constable Hayden, the perpetrators were Splendora firefighters. Those who receive the “challenge” are supposed to either donate $100 to a specific fundraiser, or donate $10 and have the icy water dumped on them (usually with someone shooting video).
Constable Hayden did both, as did District Attorney Brett Ligon and others. They wanted to contribute as much as possible to the fund to help Ethan Williamson, an 8-year-old Greenleaf Elementary student who was living the normal life of a second-grader until he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Ethan’s dad, David, is a Houston Police Officer who works in Kingwood and his mom, Tiffany, works for the Houston Police Officers Pension System. He is the oldest of three children, with the youngest only 2 years old.
David Williamson said his son loves the outdoors and playing with friends. Ethan was very disappointed when he had to miss his soccer team’s last game of the season. Math and P.E. are his favorite classes. He loves to run and also enjoys basketball and Taekwondo, but this summer will be different from any Ethan has known.
“He’s a really good kid,” David Williamson said. “He doesn’t cause problems, he minds his manners, and he likes to go to church.”
It is unknown how long Ethan will remain hospitalized or in treatment. The fundraiser is meant to help the family with the many expenses involved in treatment that are not covered by insurance.
The “cold water challenge” is not the same in Texas as in other parts of the country where people actually jump into icy bodies of water, which has been widely discouraged because of injuries and even some deaths. However, as any participant will attest, it is still quite unpleasant. Most still say they would do it again because they were able to help Ethan. Of course, there is the added benefit of being able to call out or “challenge” others afterward.
A Precinct 4 Deputy challenged the Constable, who in turn challenged several others including the District Attorney, who issued the largest challenge to date when he called out Sr. Officer Ray Hunt, President of the Houston Police Officers Union.
“I’m donating $100 on behalf of one of Houston’s finest and I expect the Houston Police Union-since it’s the largest in the state of Texas- to donate 10 times that amount,” Ligon said. “So, Ray Hunt, my shout out is for you!”
Constable Hayden hopes the goodwill continues to spread, providing assistance to Ethan’s family, with two people whose lives are devoted to public service who have found themselves facing something no parent should, while still paying bills and maintaining a home for their family of five.
“I’m glad to see this challenge is spreading, not only among law enforcement, but a lot of other people who want to help this family,” Constable Hayden said. “We have faith in Ethan and we know he’s a tough little guy who’s going to get through this and be back on the soccer field soon.”
For more information, or to make a donation, visit http://www.ethanstaystrong.myevent.com/
There is also a Facebook page under the same name, https://www.facebook.com/ethanstaystrong?fref=ts