Polar Plunge to become annual event

By Keith Strange

February 14, 2014

DOBSON —Promotional materials marketed the event as “Freezin’ for a Reason,” and organizers say last weekend’s second annual but first official Special Olympics Polar Plunge will definitely reman an annual fundraiser.

The event was held Saturday at Fisher River Park in Dobson.

The Polar Plunge benefited the county’s Special Olympics and the Yadkin Valley Senior Games.

“I loved it,” gushed Surry County Parks and Recreation Director Daniel White, who took a dip in the Fisher River himself, allowing his staff to push him into the drink. “The water was certainly exhilarating and got my adrenaline flowing, and I can honestly say I haven’t stopped talking about it since.”

White said that last year’s inaugural event raised about $1,000, a total surpassed Saturday.

“Last year was the first time we did it, and it was kind of a trial run,” he said. “It turned out to be very successful with the eight participants thoroughly enjoying it.”

Those numbers pale in comparison to this year’s plunge.

This year’s event raised more than $9,000, with 43 people participating.

White said support of community members like Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson, the city’s School Superintendent Dr. Greg Little, and area businesses participating.

In addition, youth from Faith Baptist Church plunged with their pastor, Randy Edwards, while Piney Grove Baptist Church pastors Rev. Mark Reece and Rev. Marcus McGill plunged with Special Friends Sunday School teacher Emily Settle.

The Mount Airy City Schools raised the most money for the event this year, securing pledges totalling around $2,600.

The money was raised through pledges, with White requesting $100 in pledges for each participant. But people who wanted to toss their spouse in the river were asked to raise $150. Tossing parents, bosses or community leaders costs a little more.

“The community has really shown an interest in helping this grow and we’re already receiving nominations for people to go in next year and even pledges of money,” he said.

And with such success comes an announcement that the Polar Plunge will become an annual event, White said.

“This is something we plan on doing every year from this point on,” he said. “Next year, we’re hoping to offer student and club discounts for people who want to take the plunge.”

According to White, this year’s success mandates an annual event.

“This could very much become a major fund raiser for us,” he said. “We already have pledges and commitments coming in for the 2015 Polar Plunge.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.