With a total of fourteen teams and ninety-six plungers, the annual polar plunge raised money for the Special Olympics.
The event was held Saturday Feb. 9th. Registration started at 9 a.m. and the Polar Strut, the annual 5k, began at 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m. they recognized the winners of different contests during the opening ceremony and awards ceremony.
“It’s a pretty big deal to us, not just to me but to my department, because we raise a lot of money and we do a lot of events for special Olympics and it’s brought our officers closer together and made us work better as a team,” said Chris Moore, state director of Kansas Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pittsburg Police Officer.
The first group who won, dressed as dalmatians, received best group costume, and the winner of the best individual costume wore a banana suit.
“I think it’s wonderful and I’m happy that Pittsburg has a team and does the plunge, it’s for a great cause,” said Olivia Finley, senior in psychology.
Sean Hurst, who has been participating in the Polar Plunge 5k and plunge, was recognized for being the individual who had the highest fundraising. He raised $2,400. The Pittsburg Police Department was recognized as the highest fundraising team.
“The intent of the polar plunge is a fundraiser of the law enforcement…” Moore said. “Which our main goal is to raise money and awareness for special Olympics athletes.”
Teams that participated included the Pittsburg Fire Department, Police Department, as well as Crawford County Sheriff’s department, Scammon sheriff department, and Allen County Sheriff’s department.
“It’s a good event, a good cause, it’s a creative way to raise money, I think a lot of us donate money anyways, a lot of us donated money as well as participated, but getting the community involved, I think it’s a creative way of doing it,” said Patrick Cash, Allen County Sheriff’s office team member.
Pittsburg State University Greek life also showed their support, Phi Sigma Kappa and Alpha Sigma Alpha both participated in the plunge as well as other teams of community members and teams from surrounding communities.
“Special Olympics is one of our philanthropies, so we always try to get a team together, I think this year we raised like nine hundred dollars,” said Olivia Finley, senior in psychology.
Before the plunge the crowd took a moment of silence for Payton Kannarr, who recently passed away after a battle with leukemia.
“I’m friends with the Kannarr family and with her passing I just thought it would be better for me to show my support my way, which would be wearing her shirt to support her, because I know she’s looking down on us laughing because she always laughed at us when we did this,” Moore said.
After the moment of silence, the plunge began. Teams were called up one by one and plunged into the icy water of the Crimson Villas pool. The event, in total, raised more than $20,000 for the Special Olympics.