The Drew County Sheriff’s Department, Chicot County Sheriff’s Department, and Dumas Police Department as well as teams of volunteers from Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, and Drew counties will be “Freezin’ for a Reason” February 16 at the 4th annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge at Weevil Pond on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus. 

The Polar Plunge is a major fundraiser of Special Olympics Arkansas and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) initiative is held in 50 states and in 35 countries and recruits 15,000 law enforcement officers from all over the world.

The LETR in Arkansas involves nearly 100 agencies and 1,500 officers who work year-round to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics through different fundraisers like the Polar Plunge.  The Drew County Sheriff’s Department has participated in the Area 12 Polar Plunge since its inception in 2010.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Special Olympics Arkansas is supported by individual donations, private and corporate sponsorships, state appropriations, grants and special event fundraisers. Donors’ financial support offers training, equipment, and competition to all of these athletes free of charge. All funds raised through the Polar Plunge have a direct impact on the lives of athletes from Area 12 (Southeast Arkansas) with 30 percent of the total amount raised remaining in Southeast Arkansas.

“The directors of the 17 Areas in Arkansas serve on a volunteer basis so there are no administrative costs – all money raised directly benefits our athletes,” Area 12 director Ked Donham said in a news release.

Donham said new teams and individuals are welcome to participate in the Polar Plunge.

“You do not have to be in law enforcement,” she said. “The only requirement to participate is each team member must raise at least $50. Incentive prizes will be given to plungers based on the amount of money each has raised. Also, awards will be presented to the team and individual who raise the most money; and the team and individual who wear the best costume. So be creative!”

Registration for the event begins at 10 a.m. February 16. The parade of participants and awards ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. The plunge will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Guerrilla Martial Arts and Zumba will be sponsoring a dessert auction and the “never-ending” bowl of chili lunch beginning at 10 a.m. “A $5 donation will give you the opportunity to sample different chili recipes,” Donham said. “For those who are to ‘chicken’ to plunge but would still like a souvenir t-shirt, Chickened-Out long-sleeved t-shirts will be sold the day of the plunge.”

All of the proceeds from the chili and t-shirt sale will remain in Area 12, which includes Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, and Drew counties.

For more information about the 2013 Polar Plunge or to make a donation to Special Olympics, contact Ked Donham, Director of Area 12 Special Olympics at 870-723-2539 or email [email protected]