Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 24, 2014

Special tips lead to big plunge

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — These tips are “special” in a lot of ways as law enforcement officers in Pauls Valley will get things started leading up to this year’s local Polar Plunge.

The plunge, one of several in Oklahoma, is designed to raise money for Special Olympics of Oklahoma.

It will be the fourth consecutive year for PV to host a Polar Plunge event, this year on Saturday, March 1 at the new water park next to the Reynolds Recreation Center in Wacker Park.

A big crowd is again expected as registration is scheduled at 10 a.m., while divers are set to line up and take on the chilly water starting at 11 a.m.

Before any of that action gets going the whole Polar Plunge event actually gets kicked off with what’s called Tip a Cop.

Local police officers pitch in to help with the event set from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at Riviera Maya Mexican Grill, located in the 2400 block of West Grant.

“Me and my guys will be out there helping serve for tips,” PV Police Chief Mitch McGill said.

“Our special athletes will be out there with us,” he said.

All the tips given to officers that night will go into the total amount raised in the regional Polar Plunge event, which has grown each year it’s been held in Pauls Valley.

In 2011 the first event here raised about $13,000 for the Special Olympics.

That fundraising total has been on the rise every since with about $31,000 in the second year.

Then came last year’s big splash which for the second straight year allowed the PV plunge to raise the second most in the entire state trailing only Oklahoma City.

Pauls Valley’s plunge in 2013 raised around $47,000 for Special Olympics with around 140 people taking the dive into the cold water.

“Our goal this year is to raise $50,000 and have 150 plungers,” said Elizabeth Sam, a local special education teacher and Special Olympics coach.

McGill stresses it’s easy to get involved with these Special Olympians, which law enforcement as a whole has done for years now.

“If you’ve ever known one of these special athletes you know how special they are. It’s their time to shine,” McGill said about the area games for Special Olympics, expected to be in PV on April 2, an event that benefits from the Polar Plunge.

“It’s that special. There is no better reason to donate,” he said.

“I’m hoping the community will continue to support the Special Olympics in Pauls Valley.”

Anyone interested in helping the Polar Plunge effort is encouraged to attend the local event or go to firstgiving.org to donate online.