• 75°

Taking the plunge for Special Olympics

 

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

Participants in the second annual Polar Plunge came prepared to get soaked, so they didn’t let a little drizzle dampen their spirits Saturday morning.

Organizer Jay Taylor said this year’s Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics of Rowan County was a huge success. More than 40 “plungers” participated this year, and they raised just shy of $7,000. The number of participants doubled from last year, and they surpassed their fundraising goal by nearly $2,000.

“This is so much larger than last year,” Taylor said.

A contagious excitement filled the air as families and individuals arrived at the Elks River Park. A disc jockey played festive tunes, while participants ate hot dogs and caught up with old friends. Some even came dressed in elaborate costumes.

Around 1 p.m. the group migrated from the covered shelter to the waterfront as the participants prepared to charge into 40-degree water.

Some went in fully clothed, while others wore bathing suits or costumes.

As they counted down, the mass of people took to the water. The plungers shrieked as they dove into the cold water, and the lifeguards and bystanders cheered them on.

A few minutes later, the children followed with their very own Polar Plunge.

“It was very cold,” Taylor said, but added that once his adrenaline started pumping, it wasn’t so bad.

“It was like a burst of cold water,” said participant Sarah Fincher, who said she kept telling herself that she had to push through.

Special Olympics is special to Fincher because she has a special needs person in her family.

Last year, Taylor brought the Polar Plunge to Rowan County for the first time.

He’d previously participated in Iredell County’s and wanted Rowan County to have one of its own.

Taylor knows firsthand how extraordinary Special Olympics is and the impact it can have on an individual.

“I had a brother with special needs,” he explained. “I know and am aware of what Special Olympics does.”

Even though his brother passed away when he was 21, Taylor hasn’t walked away from those with special needs.

He now serves as an instructor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for adults with intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

Taylor, his students, other students and faculty at Rowan-Cabarrus raised $3,500 for Special Olympics through the Polar Plunge alone.
Many participants, Taylor said, came from local churches and civic groups, including First Baptist Church, Sacred Heart, the Civitans and the Elks.

“It’s a celebration,” Taylor said, adding that the Polar Plunge allows those who are inspired by the Special Olympics and its athletes to be an inspiration to them in return.

Comments

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 positives in Rowan at lowest point since start of pandemic

Education

Rowan Wild’s animal camp makes a comeback at Dan Nicholas Park

Coronavirus

Health officials say financial incentives helped vaccination rates; lottery drawing today

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry adopts budget that keeps tax rate flat

Business

Airport Advisory committee endorses plans for expansion at Mid-Carolina Regional

China Grove

China Grove will celebrate 40th Farmers Day with week full of festivities

Sports

Pistons win in NBA draft lottery; Hornets will get 11th pick

Crime

Officers in Locust arrest drivers who tried to flee; one was on motorcycle reported stolen from Rowan

News

Panel OKs NC Senate budget bill; Dems pan policy provisions

News

Letter: Journalist won’t join UNC faculty without tenure

Crime

Chase from Mooresville ends with crash at Rowan Mill Road; two charged

Kannapolis

Dearmons gift two public art sculptures to city of Kannapolis

Crime

Blotter: Woman’s camper stolen from side of I-85

Local

Local scouts sweep NC American Legion awards

Business

As demand lessens slightly, local homebuilders work through challenges to deliver dwellings

Local

Commissioners name Newberry Hall House county’s newest historic landmark

News

Senate budget uses NC revenue boon on more tax cuts, capital

College

Livingstone College alumna Quanera Hayes makes U.S. Olympic Team after first-place finish in 400-meter race

Crime

Blotter: June 21

Ask Us

Ask Us: What is status of ‘speed table’ on Charles Street in Spencer?

Local

East Rowan High graduate killed in motorcycle crash

Local

Political Notebook: Gov. Cooper vetoes Ford-backed bill allowing firearms at churches that are also schools

Crime

Blotter: June 20

News

Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina river