Fred Folta spent most of Wednesday afternoon sitting above - or in - a dunk tank at the Fairview Hills Summer Festival.
"Horrible," he said, after it was over, as he stood near the community building at the low-income housing project of the Altoona Housing Authority. "I'm freezing."
But not regretful.
The Altoona Mountain Lion collects high fives from sisters Teresa, 4, and Keera, 3, Nina during the Fairview Hills Summer Festival at the Altoona Housing Authority’s Fairview Hills on Wednesday.
An 18-year-old senior-to-be at Altoona Area High School and longtime resident of Fairview Hills, Folta volunteered for the job and took - he counted them - 115 spills, including some from kids who simply pushed the lever with their hands to send him into the drink.
He's used to sacrifice, in a neighborhood that tends to enforce a lifestyle short on amenities. As a pre-adolescent, he was a "little punk," often in trouble, with terrible grades, he said.
But when he was 13, his mom sat him down, looked him "dead in the eye" and informed him that his little twin sisters were coming from their father in Johnstown to live with them, and he needed to grow up.
"I am now devoted to you and them," he told her then.
His mother works a split shift at a call center, which takes her away from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., then again from 5 to 10 p.m. - which means he's responsible for the twins much of the day. They're 8.
It's made for minimal social life, but it's helped instill the discipline to support his ambition to enter an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps training program, with a nursing major, after which he intends to go to medical school.
"He is raising his sisters," said Toni Bilik, executive director of the Gloria Gates Memorial Foundation after-school programs, which worked with the authority to put on Wednesday's festival. "He is the most awesome big brother."
The festival featured a bounce house, hot dogs and hamburgers, face painting, balloon sculpture, a magic show and door prizes.
Many families don't have a car or can't afford gas or a minor league baseball game, amusement park or restaurant, so the annual festival provides them with somewhere to go together for fun and for free, Bilik said.
Members of the Altoona Area High School cheerleading and softball teams helped, as an extension of a school-year program called Team Altoona.
Senior-to-be softball player Morgan James worked with the bounce house and face painting, encountering a little girl who said she was never going to wash off the glitter on her arm.
"They get so happy," Morgan said.
Team Altoona - the brainchild of High School Principal Patty Burlingame - sends a high school or junior high school group every Tuesday during the school year to one of the four Gloria Gates sites, which include Evergreen Manors, Logan Hills and Second Avenue United Methodist Church, Bilik said. Cheerleaders might come one week, science club members the next and the track team the next, accompanied by a teacher or coach, Bilik said.
The students stay for an hour.
"They get our kids so enthused," she said.
Nakisha Brumbaugh is not a resident of Fairview Hills but is a nearby neighbor whose cousin lives at the development.
Brumbaugh brought her 9-year-old and 8-month-old sons.
They got their faces painted, watched the balloon making and magic show and won books and folders.
"[We] have fun, meet new people," Brumbaugh said.