Saturday’s event, held at the Jimmy Floyd Family Center, marked the highest amount of money raised and most participants in recent memory, according to event organizers. The event was in its 18th year.
The event, in which volunteers raised money from family and community members while diving into cold water on a cool winter morning, featured an air temperature of 20 degrees and water temperature of 35 degrees.
Participants were encouraged to wear costumes and have fun with the event.
All proceeds go toward the Wilson County Special Olympics, and the event serves as the Special Olympics’ biggest fundraising event.
Wilson County Special Olympics have previously participated in 11 different sports, including track and field, basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, ice skating, tennis and volleyball. They hope to build a bocce court at Don Fox Community Park in the near future.
Athletes who compete in the Special Olympics are provided with all necessary equipment and uniforms at no cost, thanks in part to the funds raised by the Polar Plunge. Funds also go toward various fees related to participation in Special Olympics events.
Previous events have raised about $3,000-$3,500, and event organizers previously stated they hoped to see a significant increase in donations this year.
Awards were given out in several categories at the Polar Plunge. The oldest plunger was Mark Z. Manning, the youngest was Brendan Dedman, the most money raised was Paul Casner with $1,866 and the best costume was Kathy Keaton.
Polar Plunge sponsor AmeriGas had representatives Dawne Hagan and Sonia Williams from the Lebanon AmeriGas office, and Jeff Maxwell from the Nashville AmeriGas office, provide a warming tent, hot coffee, hot chocolate and donuts. Lebanon Dunkin Donuts also donated donuts.
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church provided a sound system. Knights of Columbus members Buddy Trouy and Ed Baenzigers announced and entertained.