Video: Md. officers take polar plunge for Special Olympics, raise $1.4M
The water in that area of bay was about 37 degrees in the afternoon and air temperature hovered around 40
By Christina Jedra
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Hundreds of shivering law enforcement and public safety personnel took a bone-chilling dip in the Chesapeake Bay on Friday.
"It was mighty cold," said County Executive Steve Schuh.
The annual Polar Bear Plunge raises money for Special Olympics Maryland, which provides sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
As of Friday night, the 20th edition of the Plunge had raised over $1.4 million. It takes place at Sandy Point State Park.
The water in that area of bay was about 37 degrees Friday afternoon, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The air temperature was about 40.
Police, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel and military members stood on the beach at the park, huddling for warmth in bikinis and swim trunks while they waited for the go-ahead to rush into the water.
Plunges continue Saturday for other participants.
Schuh, in Maryland flag-printed swim trunks and a chest painted with a Navy symbol, took the plunge for the second year in a row.
"Our public safety professionals give back give back every day, as do the members of the United States military," he said. "To see all them here today giving back again to support the Special Olympics is really incredible."
Anne Arundel State's Attorney Wes Adams, participating for the first time with his staff, said he went in the water to his waist.
"Once you're in, it goes numb," said Adams, who raised over $1,800. "You feed off the energy of everybody else."
Gov. Larry Hogan attended the event, speaking to the crowd and shaking hands afterward.
"These wonderful athletes get to do what they do because of what you're doing here today," he said. "It means a lot of to the people of the state of Maryland."
Hogan presented an award to Jimmy Myrick, a friend he made in the hospital during cancer treatment who he said "epitomizes everything the Special Olympics is about."
Hogan said his hospital room neighbor at the University of Maryland Medical Center inspired him.
"He's been coming to these plunges for 20 years," Hogan said.
Hogan said Myrick could not attend the plunge because of his leukemia. He presented The Governor's Special Olympics Maryland Courage Award to Myrick's friends, "recognizing exceptional courage in the face of adversity, recognizing that you're a leader and helping to create a world where opportunity is not limited by disability."
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