What’s Good: Southwest Michigan Polar Plunge 2022

Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 4:20 PM EST
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STEVENSVILLE, Mich. (WNDU) -Many of us are cheering on Olympians in Beijing as they compete in the winter games, but many others are doing the unthinkable to highlight athletes participating in the Special Olympics.

16 News Now’s Jack Springgate headed up to the Watermark Brewery in Stevensville where law enforcement officers and other Special Olympic supporters took the bone-chilling Polar Plunge.

Of all the ways you could choose to go swimming near Stevensville, normally this isn’t one of them. To plunge into these icy depths, you bet these divers have a good reason.

“The Polar Plunge is an event of the law enforcement torch run. The Special Olympics Michigan is where all the proceeds go to so obviously from a law enforcement standpoint, that’s a charity that’s been supported for many years. Like I said the Polar Plunge is one event,” said Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit.

State, county, and local police officers were just some of those jumping out of their comfort zone today. Local businesses and organizations also sent their best representatives to take the dive--one that required a lot of courage and mental preparation.

“July and August was approaching my mind when it’s warm and nice. And of course, a good Jimmy Buffett concert,” said Honor Credit Union CEO Scott McFarland.

Jumping in the water may look like the cold part, but leaving the polar pool was just as much of a challenge for some of these participants.

“Obviously, the air was colder once getting out. Last year we did it virtually, so with the prosecutor’s office and New Buffalo Township Fire we cut a hole in the ice so that water was a little colder but it’s chilly,” Heit said.

He says supporting Special Olympic athletes makes it all worth it.

“We raised a little over $9,000 dollars so far. Obviously, they’ll be taking in some more donations today as well. We have some friendly competition, so the benefit is we’re raising more and more money for Special Olympics Michigan,” Heit said.

Heartwarming-regardless of what the thermometer reads.

This year’s polar plunge in Stevensville raised more than $80,000 dollars and they plan to keep the tradition going for years to come.

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