Instead of a cold drink this St. Patrick’s Day, Special Olympians and law enforcement are celebrating with a Polar Plunge. But the few minutes of cold can be a big help for the athletes.
“We’re doing the Polar Plunge, I’m going to jump in the nice, cold, green water,” says Mason Tollefson, Special Olympian.
Tollefson is one of our North Dakota Special Olympians. His favorite sport is Basketball.
“It helps me do my hands and my moving better,” says Tollefson.
This Polar Plunge helps athletes like him continue to compete.
“I’ve always liked the Special Olympics. My daughter is of special needs, so kind of plays a big role in why I do what I do,” says Jacob Olson, Patrolman for Minot Police Department.
The event is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics which raises money for the athletes to help cover the costs of travel, equipment, and more.
“It’s for the people and it’s just a great cause,” says Olson.
The Run has become the largest public awareness and fundraising group for the Special Olympics.
“Each year it seems to get a little better and better and more people find out about it and participate,” says Daniel Bower, Chair for Planning Committee for Special Olympics Polar Plunge Minot.
Once the funds are raised, it’s time for the leap of faith into the icy water.
“I think I’ve been in three or four times, myself. Once you get by all that psychological factor, it’s not bad. The initial shock kind of takes your breath away, but after that, it’s kind of refreshing,” says Bower.
“What’s your favorite part about of all this?” asks Reporter Hannah Davis.
“Jumping in,” Tollefson answers.
“Jumping in?” Davis asks, shocked. “You like that?”
“Yeah. And go in the hot tub afterwards,” Tollefson says with a smile.
A few moments of cold for a good cause.
Together, the teams raised over $8,000 for the athletes to continue competing in their favorite sports.