Community braces for a cold plunge

Polar plunge
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 9:02 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Dozens jumped for joy in a chilly body of water.

A polar plunge was held in Paragould on Saturday.

The polar plunge was held to benefit Special Olympics in the area. This year marked the 19th year of the plunge.

Skip Schalk is the director of the Special Olympics Arkansas Area One. He said the money raised will benefit Special Olympics athletes and coaches throughout the year.

“Every ounce of this money that we get goes back to our area to provide these events for these athletes,” he said.

Schalk said it was important to fund the Special Olympics as it provides events like basketball and track and field to students with disabilities for free.

“We are giving them the same opportunities as what we would give someone without intellectual disabilities that could be in sports,” Schalk said.

The event also awarded the Paragould Fire Department, which raised the most money among first responders. Greene County Tech was also awarded for raising the most money by a team.

Schalk was happy to see the nearly 70 participants who went and took the plunge.

“They’re jumping because they have a passion too, to want to have these things for these athletes,” he said.

Several of the plungers were there for the first time. One was Mikaela Crawford, she said she was inspired by her class.

“I just started working at Greene County Tech as a paraprofessional and I’m doing this for my kids,” she said.

Sandra Kelley plunged for her friend that passed away in 2022 in a car crash. Kelley said her friend was a supporter of the Special Olympics. So, she wanted to dedicate the plunge in her honor.

“She would think I was crazy for taking the plunge, but she would be happy that I was raising money for a special need,” said Kelley.