Each year hordes of people gather at Tacoma’s Owen Beach for the opportunity to dive into icy ocean waters. You might find yourself wondering why and I’ve got two words for you: Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is a fundraising effort organized by law enforcement agencies throughout the state with proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, the South Sound Law Enforcement Community Team is taking the challenge and consists of several members of our local law enforcement from Dupont, University Place and Fircrest including University Place’s own Police Chief Mike Blair. This will be Chief Blair’s second consecutive year taking the challenge, though he tells me it will be his first dive. “Due to a homicide case last year I wasn’t able to make the jump,” he said.
With average sea temperatures at a cool 45 degrees this time of year, the Polar Plunge may not be the most conventional form of fundraising but Blair tells me it’s all about the cause. “John Cheeseman (Fircrest Police Chief) has been participating for well over a decade now and brought me in a couple of years ago,” Blair said.
The Special Olympics serves more than 14,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities in Washington State alone. With a vision to shatter stereotypes and exceed their personal bests while at it, Blair says, “This is a group that deserves to get the recognition and become champions themselves. We want to help any way we can.”
While organized by local law enforcement, anyone can take the plunge. According to the site, all one needs is “a little courage, a warm heart and a desire to support a worthy cause.” Even “Cool Schools” get in on the fun with faculty, staff and student teams from the area. If you’re afraid that the warm fuzzies you’ll receive from doing a good deed won’t be enough to get your body temp back up to acceptable levels, you can still help by simply donating to the cause.
Polar Plunge festivities on Feb. 25 begin with registration at 10 a.m. followed by time to award and recognize highest achievers. The big dip begins at noon with brave souls making the plunge into the frigid waters. Once they’ve had some time to dry off and get their teeth to stop chattering, everyone gets to enjoy live music and community.
Blair tells me, “I dread it every year but remind myself why we are doing it, plus it’s a good chance to needle John about it.” Visit tacomaplunge2017.kintera.org, look to the right of the page under “Top Fundraisers” and click the “Find a Participant” link. Let’s help Chief Blair close the gap on the South Sound Law Enforcement Community Team’s goal.
Bonus: For those who are too chilly to join in with other spectators on the beach, a post-plunge after party will be hosted at Edison City Alehouse (5602 S. Lawrence St., Tacoma) beginning at 2 p.m. And Edison City Alehouse is offering $1 off each pint purchased PLUS keeping the fundraising momentum going strong with $1 per pint benefiting the Special Olympics as well.