TEGA CAY – What in the world could motivate a bunch of local police officers and civilians to get up early on a Saturday morning and jump into icy cold water?
As always around here, to help others.
The Tega Cay Police Department 2019 Special Olympics Polar Plunge is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 9. Past events have been in either Lake Wylie or the outdoor pool at the Baxter Village YMCA in Fort Mill and this year, it returns to Baxter. And don’t be fooled by this week’s record-breaking high temperatures. The mercury is expected to slip back down to the normal winter range by weekend and Saturday morning could start out near freezing.
That YMCA pool won’t feel like jumping into a warm bath. For the participating TCPD officers and their colleagues from the Fort Mill and Rock Hill police departments and York County Sheriff’s Office and anyone else who signs up to take the plunge, the temporary discomfort is well worth it.
“The purpose of the Special Olympics Polar Plunge is twofold,” explains Capt. James Patterson, spokesman and public information officer for the TCPD.
“First, to raise awareness that through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Second, is to raise funds for the athletes and their families in order to offset the cost incurred with participation inevents across the country.”
Last year, the event raised $25,000 and Patterson said the TCPD is raising the bar and set the goal at $30,000 for 2019. Though everyone is focused on the total, there is a point of pride for individuals who bring inthe highest donations. Some local schools have formed fundraising teams and are trying to out-do each other for the cause.
As of Thursday, they were less than halfway there.
“There is a healthy competition between all those involved,”Patterson said. “Not only between officers but also the schools in the Fort Mill School District for the Special Olympics Travelling Trophy and bragging rights.”
For individuals who would like to take the plunge, the registration fee is $50 and you get a Special Olympics Polar Plunge tee. Those who donate $250 receive a towel with the logo and for $500, you take home a special commemorative blanket.
Before the plunge, there will be a costume contest and other fun things to do and registration includes lunch.
It’s not too late to register as team or individual. For more information or to register, click here.
To learn more about Special Olympics in South Carolina, click here (York County is in Area 11).