This past weekend I was once again invited to the Penguin Plunge in Keene, New Hampshire by my friend Downey. (See our interview with him to raise funds for the Special Olympics of New Hampshire. He is a 16-year veteran of the Plunge and the annual jump into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.)
I arrived 40 minutes early and there was the Keene Fire Department filling the portable water tank where the “penguins” would gather. (The first run of warmer water had rust in it, so they used the hydrant. Let us just say the water was invigorating.)
I saw Mike Salce, the Regional Program Coordinator for the Special Olympics New Hampshire was directing traffic because of a basketball tournament. Mike had just passed 40 years in service with the organization! (Dan Rath presented Mike with a red penguin tie at the end of the event.)
Folks began to gather and to get ready for the plunge. Volunteers assembled a small tent for changing and folks checked the temperature of the water. The annual reunion had lots of hugs and greetings.
I saw Becky May in her tie-dye SONH shirt. She is a New Hampshire Special Olympian, and this past Saturday celebrated her 15th Plunge. Becky also has been selected to represent the Granite State at the 2022 USA Games! (And at my last look had raised $6,999 for SONH.)
Get Involved With The Plunge
While folks were gathering, I noticed a group of construction workers putting on their lime green company shirts. They were wearing hard hats and shorts. They walked over to the area. A later conversation with one of the men from DEW Construction revealed that they knew Becky May and that they decided to do more than just make a financial donation. They dove in with both feet, you could say. Their team included the President of the company, Taylor Woodward.
I captured this from their Facebook page, DEW is pleased to support the Special Olympics in its mission to provide athletic opportunities, fitness, health, friendship and so much more for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
I talked to the team leader of The Frozen Section, Dr. Dan Rath, a retired gastroenterologist at Cheshire Medical Center while he wandered around with his penguin hat. Dr. Dan the Penguin Man was taking the plunge for his 21st year. (Dr. Dan raised $5,749 this year and as a team, they raised $21, 936 this year.)
“Everybody has their favorite causes, and this is my favorite cause, these Special Olympics,” Rath said. “And I actually love the event. Since I was a kid, I always, whenever I was near the ocean, no matter what time of year, I’d go in. And so this was the perfect event for me [to] get to raise money for Special Olympics and get to go in the ocean.” (A quote from last year’s event.)
Another familiar face was that of Patrick Moynihan. An employee of Hannaford’s, I often see him talking to customers and making grocery shopping a little nicer.
His page says it all…
“I am freezin’ for a reason! Did you know that Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people? Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities. Athletes find joy, confidence, and fulfillment — on the playing field and in life. They inspire their communities to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.”
And as the people went in, dunked, even hung out in the tank, it was not long before it was over for this year, here in Keene.
BUT, there was a group of these folks who were headed over on Sunday to Hampton Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. My friend, Downey sent me some video and it is included.
Some might think these people are a little crazy, but they are raising money for a cause they believe in. And to have a little fun while they are doing it, just makes it better.
If you think, you want to participate in some of this craziness or make a donation, I have included some links to help you on this.
Lee is the owner and publisher of Positive News For You. To learn more about the company and their sister nonprofit, PN4UINC, contact them.