The numbers are in for the Sixth Annual Minnesota Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge held at Lake Hallett in St. Peter on Saturday Feb. 11. The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office is happy to report that roughly 615 plungers raised about $100,000.
“We are happy to report that our numbers have increased with both money raised, as well as those that participated with taking the plunge,” Tory Poehler of the sheriff’s office stated. The sheriff’s office organizes the event locally.
Cold temperatures did not keep Gustavus athletes and athletic trainers from donating and participating in the plunge. The group raised over $3,000 for Special Olympics.
On Sunday, Feb. 12, over 400 athletes of the Special Olympics came together at Gustavus Adolphus College’s Lund Center. The day’s events included a swim meet, individual basketball skills, a basketball tournament and a power lifting competition.
From athletic teams to sororities and fraternities, a large number of volunteers from across the Gustavus community devoted their time to making the event run as smooth as possible. Women’s hockey player and key organizer Lindsey Hjelm explained, “The welcoming atmosphere of Gustavus really made all the difference. The Special Olympics athletes from all over southern Minnesota had a great time and were very enthused to be working with our students.”
“The basketball teams were especially helpful officiating many of the games, while the swim team did a wonderful job orchestrating the swim meet in the pool,” continued Hjelm.
The Gustavus Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) huddle also made a huge impact at the event, dedicating their entire day towards training volunteers and making the event run smoothly. Hjelm said that the overall experience for both the athletes and volunteers was incredibly positive.