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Oswego’s 2014 Polar Plunge Draws More Than 125

OSWEGO, NY – It was the coldest and fastest Polar Plunge for Special Olympics New York. Temperatures languished below freezing Saturday and the windchill was in the teens.

Polar Plungers brave the freezing waters of Lake Ontario on Saturday afternoon.
Polar Plungers brave the freezing waters of Lake Ontario on Saturday afternoon.

More than 125 people from all around the area, including SUNY Oswego, took part in the second Oswego Polar Plunge for Special Olympics New York.

The plunge began at 1 p.m.

An honor guard made up of representatives of local law enforcement, US Coast Guard Oswego Station, and Oswego Fire Department lead a large contingent of Special Olympians to the water at Wright’s Landing.

One of them carried the Olympic Torch.

They were followed by dozens of polar plungers, in various stages of dress.

A pair of Polar Plungers holds hands as they dash into the lake to support Special Olympics.
A pair of Polar Plungers holds hands as they dash into the lake to support Special Olympics.

By 1:05 p.m. they were back on dry land with friends and family members wrapping them up in blankets and winter coats.

“A lot of people plunged in the lake today. That’s nice,” said Roger Pullen who joined them in the frosty frolic. “I went in to help Special Olympics. I’m an athlete. I wanted to help out like everybody else.”

Heather Moore said she wanted to take part because it is a really good cause.

“And, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she added. “Everyone should do this once in their lives.”

Guinn Simmons said she was plunging in honor of a friend with special needs.

After a (very brief) dip, the first wave of Polar Plungers race back to dry land and warmth.
After a (very brief) dip, the first wave of Polar Plungers race back to dry land and warmth.

“It’s for a real good cause,” she said. “And, I can help out a friend as well.”

“It’s my first time doing it. It’s something I wanted to try,” said Nicole Montera. “We’re all part of a community service fraternity that does stuff like this. (Alpha Phi Omega).”

The fraternity does several community events during the year, she explained. Just recently, they took part in the Walk For Life.

James Nyreen said the water was very cold, “but it was worth it to help out a good cause.”

Casey Vorchick helps James Nyreen get warm after he plunged into Lake Ontario in support of Special Olympics.
Casey Vorchick helps James Nyreen get warm after he plunged into Lake Ontario in support of Special Olympics.

“I am a really big supporter of the Special Olympics. It’s a need close to my heart,” he said. “We have some special needs in my family and my dad’s a social worker.”

The Long Island native also took part in a similar event four years ago in Long Beach on Long Island.

“It’s kind of invigorating. There’s no difference (in water temperature). It’s all the same at a certain point. Once you get cold – you’re cold. It’s all good, though,” he told Oswego County Today.

Plungers who raised $100 received a Polar Plunge sweatshirt. Many of them could be seen wearing the sweatshirt following the event.

Mayor Tom Gillen, who had been at the War of 1812 Symposium, stopped by to thank the plungers for turning out to support the Special Olympics program.

However, even though he arrived by 1:06 p.m., everyone had already gotten in and out of the water.

“I don’t blame them,” he said. “This has got to be the coldest plunge ever; and the windchill must be around 15-20 degrees!”

Heather Moore of Alpha Phi Omega displays here “Shivering for Service” shirt prior to taking the plunge.
Heather Moore of Alpha Phi Omega displays here “Shivering for Service” shirt prior to taking the plunge.

“It’s great to see our community come together for an event like this,” he added. “Everyone should be very proud for helping out the Special Olympics today. They’re freezing, but they’re freezing for a reason!”

Gibby’s Irish Pub had a chicken BBQ for hungry plungers and friends. And, coffee and hot chocolate was provided for the frosty faithful by Dunkin’ Donuts.

Special Olympics is the largest amateur sports organization in the world.

With 64,659 athletes, Special Olympics New York is the largest chapter in North America and the sixth largest chapter in the world.

Special Olympics New York athletes train and compete year-round in 22 sports, the Young Athletes Program and the Motor Activities Training Program – at no cost to the athlete, their families or their caregivers.

For more information visit www.nyso.org

More information can also be found on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/OswegoPolarPlunge