WARSAW — It was a perfect day for the second annual Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Indiana. Approximately 92 plungers raised $13,589.
Members of the Warsaw Police Department Aquatic Team cut through three to four inches of honeycombed ice to make a plunge area. The temperature was 59 degrees and the water temperature was at 40 degrees near the edge of the beach. Because of wind conditions the plunge was held on the east side of the pier.
Plungers included teams from DePuy Synthes, Instru-med, Paragon Medical, Bone City Rollers, Menard’s, The Behavior Analysis For Autism – Elkhart, Fulton County Special Olympics, family members of Special Olympians, Special Olympic participants, Kosciusko County Special Olympics members and volunteers including Joe Baronowski, Becky Walls and private individuals who support Special Olympics. The city of Warsaw was represented by James Emans, city engineer.
The 92 plungers, 77 utilizing the online registration, came dressed in simple costumes to the costumes of Cry Baby, Batman and Spiderman. A costume contest, held prior to the plunge, determined the winner by applause and cheers of all present. Alex Garcia, wearing a Big Baby or Cry Baby costume beat out Tyler Lemon and his Spiderman attire.
Buzz Lail, Northwest Regional Manager, Special Olympics Indiana, stated the big story this year is the DePuy Alliance Disability Leadership group sponsorship at the state level. “They are sponsoring 15 plungers and are in a close race with Instru-med with a special award just for Warsaw. ‘Chillin To The Bone,’ ” Lail stated.
Before the plunge began, Special Olympian James Mornout lead the Special Olympics pledge. The plungers were lead out to the Center Lake Pier by the 15 participants of the Bone City Rollers, Warsaw’s roller derby team.
“Invigorating,” said Emans. “It literally takes your breath away. It sucks the air right out of you.” He added “I’d do it again.” Emans, who represented the city of Warsaw, volunteered as the city’s volunteer. “The mayor asked for a volunteer, I happily volunteered,” he said. Emans said when he was in the service and a volunteer was needed, you stepped up. “The city needed a volunteer, I stepped up.” This was not the only time Emans has been in the cold water. His first time was by accident, when a rubber dingy he was using to do surveying work tipped over.
Second-year-plunger Cory Ream stated “It was good! My feet are colder this year than last year … It’s for a good cause. It wakes you up a little bit.”
Following the plunge awards were presented to the largest team participation, most money raised by an individual and most money raised by a team. The Bone City Rollers won the team participation with Emma Dobson, South Bend, representing BACA won the award for the most money raised. Dobson raised $1,212.
The DuPuy team won not only the most money raised by a team of 10 or more, raising $3,876 but also the ‘Chillin’ To The Bone’ Challenge. DePuy was also recognized as a state level sponsor.
A pizza party was held following the plunge and a number of items available in a silent auction.
Warsaw Police Department, Warsaw Police Department Aquatic Team, and Lutheran EMS Kosciusko were on hand.