|Community invited to take the plunge|
|February 21, 2013 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Brian Hale/Gering Citizen - The Lady Godivers make their way back from an icy winter plunge in the North Platte River at last year's Polar Plunge event. The Lady Godivers are, from left, Chuck Elley, Jay Petersen, Chris Baer and Monica Bartling.
People from around the area are invited to brave the cold water of the North Platte River and dive in to help support Special Olympics.
Registration for the second annual Polar Plunge starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 in the parking area at Riverside Park in Scottsbluff. The plunge is scheduled for 11 a.m.
“Our first plunge went beyond all expectations we had,” said Captain Jason Rogers of the Gering Police Department. “We were hoping to raise about $5,000 for Special Olympics and we raised about $10,000. The turnout was phenomenal and we had great support.”
Rogers said not only law enforcement professionals showed up, but also members from local young professionals group and family members of Special Olympians.
The Polar Plunge event has been going on for several years in eastern Nebraska, sponsored by local law enforcement agencies. This year will be the second one for the local area. Members from the Scottsbluff and Gering Police Departments, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office are all planning to participate.
“The law enforcement community has been involved with the Special Olympics program for years,” Rogers said. “Every May, we sponsor the Law Enforcement Torch Run across the state. The Polar Plunge is a tie-in to what we’ve been doing all along.”
Immediately following the plunge, a post-plunge party is scheduled at the UMCA Trails West Camp, just west of the plunge area. Like last year, plungers are asked to raise a minimum of $50 each.
Prizes will also be awarded for the most outrageous costume, the youngest and oldest plunger, top male and female fundraisers and the most original team theme.
Rogers said plungers can sign up even the morning of the event. For more information and tips about the event, go to the Special Olympics website, www.sone.org.
“Whether people want to dive in, donate to the cause or volunteer to help out, everything is appreciated,” he said.