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Local Police “plunge” into frigid waters for Special Olympics Washington

LAKE STEVENS, Wash., March 4, 2022 – Plunge Week, an annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics, came to a close Sunday, February 27, with the Lake Stevens Police Department rushing into frigid waters at North Cove Park in Lake Stevens. 

The annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge challenges participants to “plunge” in creative ways from wearing a costume to filling a bathtub with ice cubes. Videos of the plunge are then uploaded to social media platforms, linked to a personal fundraising page that invites friends, family, and colleagues to raise funds for children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout Washington State. 

As Plunge Week (February 22 through 26) coincides with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, many Police Departments throughout Snohomish County took to the cause, challenging one another in the name of the 2022 Special Olympics. 

Chief Nelson “Polar Pops” for the Special Olympics | Lynnwood Police Department

On Monday, February 28, even Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney was challenged to plunge by Lynnwood Chief of Police Jim Nelson, who was challenged by Mukilteo Chief of Police Cheol Kang. 

Sheriff Fortney’s Polar Plunge Challenge for Special Olympics WA | SnoCo Sheriff

“We’re proud to support over 19,500 athletes throughout the state that participate in Special Olympics Washington. I’m plunging because these athletes deserve to be celebrated, and we’re inviting you to join us in this amazing cause,” Chief Kang said right before a water balloon full of cold water was popped on his head. 

The water balloon signifies a “polar pop” challenge between the eastern and western sides of the state to see who could raise the most money. The end of this competition was celebrated on Saturday with an optional in-person plunge at Alki Beach in Seattle for western competitors and Columbia Point Marina Park in Richland for eastern competitors. 

A similar plunge was held in Snohomish County at North Cove Park. 

As of Wednesday, March 2, and with nine more days left to raise funds, the West is ahead with $117,622 to the East’s $67,402.

Notable contest winners were:

  • Top Individual Fundraiser – Janice M. (East)
  • Top Fundraising Team – Hanford Vit Plant (East)
  • Best Polar Pop Location – Ken Kieffer
  • Most Creative Polar Pop – Robert
  • Biggest Polar Pop Splash – Sydney
  • Best Polar Pop Reaction – Elizabeth
  • Best Group Polar Pop – The Nearly Nekkid Norwegians

The contest winners were based on video submissions and/or funds raised by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 25. 

Over the course of Plunge Week, Special Olympics Washington has raised $185,024, just shy of their $225,000 goal. Those interested in helping the organization reach this goal still have until Friday, March 11, to donate. 

“Law enforcement is a very important part of the Special Olympics, and they come out in full force to support our athletes for our fundraisers. We couldn’t do a lot of what we do without them,” Jaymeline Esmele, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, told the Lynnwood Times. 

Although last year’s and this year’s plunge were held virtually, Special Olympics Washington informed the Lynnwood Times that they hope to return to in-person plunges next year but won’t know for certain until this fall. 

About the Special Olympics

Special Olympics was started by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968 as a way to provide people with disabilities a place to play and feel included. Today, her vision has become a global movement with more than 5.7 million athletes competing in 200 countries and jurisdictions.

Through the power of sports, people with disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills, and success. Athletes find joy, confidence, and fulfillment—on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.

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