by Samuel Harwood
Brave swimmers and supporters took to Mother’s Beach for the Polar Plunge last Saturday, February 27th, to raise funds for the Special Olympics South- ern California (SOSC).
Over $21,000 was pledged online, with more expected from individual donations. All monies raised go directly to programs and events at SoCal’s branch of the Special Olympics – which includes over 22,000 ath- letes and 15,000 coaches and volunteers.
Fundraisers jumped into the sub-50- degree waves with a large crowd on the beach cheering on groups from local schools and law enforcement agencies, as well as individuals.
Participants raised a minimum of $50 each, with one plunger raising over $3,000 late last year. “Our athletes face challenges every day,” commented Brandon Tanner, a director of Special Events for SOSC. “So we’re asking people to come out, face the challenge of cold water and take a plunge to raise money in support of our athletes.”
The event offered a pancake breakfast to warm bodies before the plunge, as well as a raffle and a waterslide afterwards, with food and merchandise for sale from sponsors and local vendors. Many came dressed in costume to add to the event’s festive nature. The emcee of the plunge wore a chicken suit to poke fun at those too “chicken” to brave the waters.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run, a group of fundraisers representing law enforcement agencies that raised over $1.4 million for SOSC in 2014, hosted the event and a number of officers from Marina del Rey’s sheriff’s department enjoyed the festivities alongside the participants.
“We think this was an outstanding event,” said Lieutenant Carmichael Octave, “and we were honored to be a part of the continuing partnership between law enforcement and the Special Olympics.”