Will freeze for cash: Polar plungers taking donations

February 22, 2019

ROCKFORD – It’s not the best time of the year to go jump in a lake, but that’s not going to stop a herd of hearty Special Olympic supporters, who’ll be #FreezinForAReason Saturday in frigid Olson Lake in Rock Cut State Park.

More than 70 team members from Dixon will be among 500 people taking the plunge as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge fundraiser.

Here’s how it works:

Participants raise at least $100 in donations, and in exchange for jumping into the heart-stopping icy waters, each gets a Polar Plunge sweatshirt, plus the chance to win prizes. For the jump, shoes are recommended, costumes are encouraged, but wetsuits are strictly forbidden, as is diving in head first.

The Olson Lake Polar plunge benefits nearly 1,800 athletes in Special Olympics Region A, which encompasses Lee, Whiteside, Ogle, Carroll, Bureau and seven other counties.

Teams from Dixon include:

• Team Shrinkage, the Dixon Police and Fire team, which has raised the most money of any team the past several years.

• Kreider Polar Plungers, made up of Special Olympic athletes and coaches.

• The Stables, a 20-member team lead by owner Ryan Marshall, which last year took in the most money raised by a team with more than 10 members.

• Plungers, lead by Eligh Barton.

• Numb Nuts, lead by Sam and Carie Ramirez.

• Joe Ghibellini of Mount Morris also will be participating in this plunge: he has raised the most money by an individual so far – more than $2,000, organizers say. In fact, according to his Facebook page, he’s a mere $340 short of his $2,500 goal.

Jacob Hoak is this year’s athlete Polar Plunge Ambassador. Hoak, who competes in Alpine skiing, track and field, basketball and bowling, has plunged for several years and swears he is “cold-blooded.”

This year’s goal is $125,000; donations can be made directly to plungers, online or by mail. All proceeds benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

Go to soill.org/polar-plunge, select the Olson Lake Polar Plunge, then click the donate button to search for a particular team to support; contact Debbie Kelly, Region A director, at dkelly@soill.org or 815-739-2052, or find Special Olympics Illinois – Region A on Facebook for more information.

Law officers and others on the Whiteside County end of the world tend to participate in the Rock Island Plunge, which will happen March 24 in Wick’s Lake.

Find more details on the website, call Jennifer Davis at 309-337-9326 or find 2019 Polar Plunge - Rock Island on Facebook for more information.