Despite the extremely cold temperatures, law enforcement departments across the state are getting ready to plunge into the Chesapeake Bay for the Special Olympics Maryland.
It’s a commitment Maj. Ellsworth Jones, of the Howard County Police Department, said is priceless.
“When you get out there, (Special Olympics athletes) lined up out there waiting and greeting you, so you get the feeling as soon as you get there. (The feeling) is the reason why you (plunge). So it’s a heartwarming experience when you get there, just them meeting you, because they are so grateful,” Jones said.
Jones has been with the Howard County Police Department for 30 years. He’s been plunging for the past 10 years and heads up the effort to get other officers involved.
“Sometimes they like to get dressed up and wear strange things and really get involved because they love it,” Jones said.
Since 1986, law enforcement departments across the state have raised $40 million through plunges like the Polar Bear Plunge and other fundraisers.
“Throughout the year, they are raising funds for Special Olympics Maryland through the law enforcement torch run, doing Cops on Tops and Tip a Cop and Cover the Cruiser, and so we thank them for everything they’ve done for our athletes,” said Kira Northrop, director of media for Special Olympics Maryland.
This year, the Howard County Police Department had a goal of raising $2,500, but they raised $5,000 and are still taking donations. Even a small amount can go a long way.
“A $25 donation will buy an athlete equipment for a season,” Northrop said.
Police, fire, EMS and military personnel will plunge Friday, while the plunge for the public is on Saturday. Click here for video & more information.