Though it was a warm day for November, the 50 degree water at Badger Lake in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park still managed to chill around 80 people to the bone as they drove into the lake to raise money for Special Olympics Iowa Sunday afternoon.
The 2010 Polar Plunge is the third annual event at Badger Lake with costumed groups such as The Blue (Wo)Man Group and The Cheer Bears taking a dip after pledging to raise at least $60 a person for the Special Olympics.
The Fort Dodge event is one of 13 that take place across the state, according to Jeanette Steinfeldt, Special Olympics director of development, which collectively is the largest fundraiser for the Special Olympics generating around $300,000 in support.
Local teams take the Polar Plunge at Kennedy Lake
"This really gives people a chance they wouldn't otherwise have," said Steinfeldt. "It gets them off the sidelines to be Michael Jordan for the day,"
The Polar Plunge at Kennedy Park Sunday managed to raise around $13,000 to $15,000, based on the amount of people taking part, according to Steinfeldt.
The ten teams taking the plunge made up an eclectic group with everyone from law enforcement officials to seniors from Friendship Haven.
Fort Dodge Police Sgt. Chuck Guthrie tries to get the steam out of his mask Sunday afternoon before plunging into the waters of Badger Lake with other members of the police department’s Special Olympics Polar Plunge team, The Blue (Wo)Men. For more photos see cu.messengernews.net
"Broadly, Iowa law enforcement has picked the Special Olympics as their chosen charity," said Kelly Hindman, local event organizer and Iowa State Patrol commander for District 7. "This is one of those things I think everyone universally agrees is a great thing for these kids."
Law enforcement groups taking place included the Fort Dodge Police Department, as the Blue (Wo)Man Group; The Webster County Sheriff's Department, as The Chicken Little Posse; The Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, as Ice Pack; and the Department of Correctional Services, as The Correct. "Stones."
"This is just to help raise money because we think it's a good cause and it helps us all. It gives us some comradery as a group," said Rus Martin, team member with the Correct. "Stones."
Martin said over the past three years taking part in the event they've been able to raise around $3,000 for the cause.
Friendship Haven had their own team of Active Elders taking part in the fun with four members at an average age of 85.
"We want to contribute and we also want to show people that we do things besides just play bingo," said team member Dick Whitcome.
This is the second year for the group and they managed to raise around $250 this year alone.
Though Steinfeldt said the event is completely safe, every precaution is taken with the event.
Trinity Regional Medical personnel were on the scene in case of emergency, while members of the Central Iowa Underwater Search and Rescue Team were in the lake to assist the participants. Additionally, members of the Air National Guard had a first aid tent set up.
"It was just an awesome day and a great time," added Steinfeldt.
Contact Ian Schmit at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org