They took a cold, deep dive to lift people up.
Saturday morning at the Splashtown water park some warm-hearted volunteers took to the pool to take a Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
Splashtown Vice President James Kinney said, “Today we are 'Freezing for a Reason,' and it's for a good cause so they can raise money to send athletes to the Special Olympics.”
Anna Twitty with Texas Special Olympics said, “ We start at age two and up and we have 11,000 athletes in San Antonio, so we do fundraisers throughout the year to support them in sports.”
The concept is simple enough. Volunteers recruit donors who give money to support their efforts. This is the third year Splashtown has hosted the event. They said the “Head Rush” ride becomes a way to have fun and help a great cause.
Twitty said her favorite part of the day is the zany costumes worn by many of the participants. Saturday, in addition to elves and a Santa Claus, a man dressed like Jesus took the plunge and onlookers laughed when he lost his long, flowing wig in his big splashdown.
“They're going to ride the slide and we've got perfect cold Polar Plunge weather for them,” Kinney said, noting the air temperature on Saturday morning was a bracing 66 degrees.
“Over the last 20 years, Splashtown has been very involved with the special needs community and we just wanted to continue to reach out in any way we could,” Kinney said.
10-year-old volunteer Michael Mandry said it was his first time to participate.
Mandry said, “It felt like a roller coaster, but also it was a cold one.” Warming himself in the sun after his big plunge, Mandry didn’t hesitate to say he would gladly participate next year.
Special Olympics athlete Lisa Romero has been participating in a number of competitions for years, but this was her first attempt at the Polar Plunge.
Romero said even though it was cold, she enjoyed the day because she enjoys the program so much.
Romero said she likes Special Olympics because the competition is a good way to make friends. Romero said, “It's fun and you can get to know your athletes.” Romero said she participates in softball, track & field, swimming, bowling, and basketball.