Third Annual Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics

Local News

David Reynolds calls himself a professional Polar Plunger.

He traveled to Erie from New Castle, braving the colder temperatures with his son in mind. 

“He started Special Olympics when he was 16 and he got to meet some new people. He got to get out and do some things. You know, got to be a in whole different situation than he usually was,” said Reynolds, a participant.

That’s the good cause that brought hundreds of people out to Presque Isle State Park, some in their swim suits, others in winter jackets.

“Water temperature I’m guessing was between 42 and 45 degrees which in a swimsuit is quite chilly,” said Norma Carey, the scuba team co-captain. 

Those temperatures didn’t keep the Pennsylvania State Police and the City of Erie Police Department from racing in a friendly competition.

“We completed the task. It’s all for a good cause. Cold water, warm hearts, that’s what it’s all about,” said Erie Police Chief Don Dacus.

Events like this one give athletes in the Special Olympics more opportunity to reach their full potential.

“Money that’s raised through the Polar Plunge goes to support everything that they do from their uniforms to transportation,” said Jessica Divito, the director of development for the Special Olympics.

Divito said this plunge raises around 75-thousand dollars, providing the means for every Special Olympic athlete to compete at no cost to them. 

She told us there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the crowds ‘freezin’ for a reason.’ 

“It’s overwhelming. It really does honestly warm the heart. People are really eager to jump in which is a great thing,” said Divito. 


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