Into the shallow green pool

Joud Bayeh | reporter

rong will to help best describes the Polar Plunge 2013, organized by the Special Olympics of Kansas.
The event was held Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Crimson Villas swimming pool, with more than 100 contestants willing to jump into the frigid water.
One of these plungers was Joseph Strong, senior in nursing, who has an autistic son who is an athlete in the Special Olympics.
“I just came to have fun, not freeze too much and help the cause,” he said right before jumping wearing only a hospital gown.
The nursing department raised over $ 1,200, says Strong.

The Frontenac Fire Department pours ice into the swimming pool before the Polar Bear Plunge.

The Frontenac Fire Department pours ice into the swimming pool before the Polar Bear Plunge.

“I would like to thank the nursing department for the support,” he said.
Each contestant had to raise at least $75 for the event, but the $21,000 raised was above expectations, said Jana Fornelli, vice president of development of the Special Olympic Games. “It is our seventh year in Pittsburg, it’s an exciting event,” she said.
The first part was the individual jumps, in which solo plungers wore clown, cop and even Wonder Woman costumes before jumping in.
Afterward, it was time for the groups to jump. One of the biggest, with 20 plungers, was the Mischievous Monkeys, from Fort Scott Elementary School.
“We came here to have a great time and support our children and the Special Games,” said Donna Davis, teacher.
“We had a contest among our students and the one who raised most money could shave the principal’s hair as a prize,” Davis said. With that, the group raised more than $3,000.
Derek Mitchell, who couldn’t tell how many times he has participated of the event, plunged with the group New Hope.
“I came to jump in the pool, have a good time and freeze me up,” said the athlete who bowls, plays basketball, softball and also swims and skis in the Special Games.
Michael Gayoso, part of the team Justice Jumpers, joined three others in the jump.
“There is a sense of nervousness, but at the time to jump, we bite our teeth and go. Obviously, it is a great cause, so we raise money and provide any support that we can,” said Michael Gayoso, whose group raised $400.
After the jumps, the plungers moved to the Nazarene Church of Pittsburg for lunch and the awards announcements.
“We hope everyone can join us next year for the plunge,” said Fornelli.

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