Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 5, 2014

Fun kind of plunge on chilly side

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Gray skies and bone chilling water couldn’t put a damper on the festivities of yet another Polar Plunge event in Pauls Valley.

The regional Fun Country plunge came on Saturday as folks from all over the area gathered at PV’s new water park to put an exclamation point on this year’s efforts to raise money for Special Olympics Oklahoma.

It was a fast and furious pace as divers of all ages, some dressed in colorful costumes, lined up to take the leap into a pool full of cold water as dozens of spectators watched the fun.

Organizers for the event were again pleased not only with the event but where it took place.

“It went really well,” said Elizabeth Sam, local special education teacher and Special Olympics coach.

“We had a good turnout, and it was great having it at the water park,” she said. “It was a blessing to have it here.

“It’s just a great place for this event. It made everything go a lot smoother.”

Sam’s reference to the water park included the fact the facility offered dressing areas for plungers, in addition to warm showers if the dive got a little bit too cold.

“Plus we had great support from the community,” Sam said.

“I just love the way this community supports this Polar Plunge.”

Also a part of the turnout were more groups signing up to support the event, including some new law enforcement agencies, she said.

There were other officials who were also quick to smile about this year’s plunge in Pauls Valley, including Jennifer Lightle of Special Olympics Oklahoma.

“This was a great day for Special Olympics,” Lightle said moments after the last diver got out of the chilly pool.

In fact, Lightle said the PV plunge was again second in the entire state in the amount of money it raised for the Special Olympics cause.

A preliminary total of around $37,500 was announced for the event, which among the 11 Polar Plunges in the state this year ranked it only behind the one held in Oklahoma City.

There was a grand total of 115 people taking the plunge this year, which according to Lightle easily beat the 92 in the PV event last year.

Individual honors also went to the oldest diver, 62 years old, and the youngest, a 5-year-old girl wrapped in a towel before she went into the chilly water.

Other honors went to Josh Brown for being the individual raising the most money, more than $2,800, as well as the Walmart Distribution Center for tops in fundraising as a group.

The overall Polar Plunge actually got started Friday night with what’s called Tip a Cop.

Here local law enforcement officers spent three hours helping out customers at PV’s Riviera Maya Mexican Grill in exchange for tips that went into the overall total raised for Special Olympics.

Pauls Valley’s police chief, Mitch McGill, was all smiles when talking about the more than $16,000 raised during the Friday night effort.

“We did awesome at the Tip a Cop,” McGill said.

“We had a great turnout, a great reception and great people.”

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