Freezin’ for a reason

Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Submitted by Barbara Toti

EURE – The 4th annual Polar Plunge was held at Beaver Lake on Saturday, Jan. 31 where over 60 plungers braved the frigid waters while roughly 200 other individuals watched from the shoreline.

Helping to make the cold bearable for everyone was the chili challenge. Without the many chili chefs who donated their best recipes of chili, the plungers might not have taken their icy dip.

These two photos display the brave souls who dared to take an icy dip on Saturday into the 40-degree waters of Beaver Lake, site of the 4th annual Polar Plunge to benefit Gates County Special Olympics. Staff Photos by Cal Bryant

These two photos display the brave souls who dared to take an icy dip on Saturday into the 40-degree waters of Beaver Lake, site of the 4th annual Polar Plunge to benefit Gates County Special Olympics. Staff Photos by Cal Bryant

Along with the annual chili challenge, the GC Rescue Squad was on hand to provide breakfast items and BBQ and fries as well as hotdogs by Special Olympics. GCHS band boosters had hot chocolate available, which helped warm up many of the cold plungers and many bystanders.

The chili challenge winners this year were Joe Fougerousse in 1st place; Debra Boyce in 2nd place; Cheryl Kennedy, 3rd place and Honorable Mention for Lisa Ward.

The event kicked off at 11:30 a.m. with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Ginny Cowper.

The team challenge was a big hit this year and the competition made it hard for the judges once again. Winning the biggest trophy of the day, for most creative presentation, was Cooper’s Cruella and Crew (T.S. Cooper Elementary). Winning for most creative name was Gatesville Bee Chillin’ (Gatesville Elementary), and Most Creative Costume went to the Buoyant Barons (GCHS students). Winning teams received a traveling Polar Bear Trophy, which will come back each year to be won again.

Honorable mention went to Panda Propaganda (Buckland Elementary).

The GCHS faculty had a great time as The Plungin’ Pilots.  Rounding out the teams were the Corapeake Ruritans and Stephen’s Lifesavers.

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There was a triple crown donation this year by TS Cooper, they raised enough money to triple their registration fee, bringing their school’s donation to $1,500.

There were also several creative costumes worn by individual plungers.

This event could not have been possible without its host, Beaver Lake Ski Club and its members who worked hard earlier in the week to have the event area ready and pitched in that day as well.  Along with Beaver Lake Ski Club, other sponsors helped to ensure the success of the fundraisers scheduled for this year.

Special Olympics Gates County and Project Unify would like to thank the following sponsors: Central Ford, Inc of Ahoskie, Metal Tech, Inc of Murfreesboro, The Byrum Family, and Dixie Auto Parts of Sunbury, all at the Ambassador sponsorship level of $500. The Gold sponsors ($300) were Hall Ruritans, and Woodmen of the World, Murfreesboro Chapter 862. Silver sponsors ($200) were Gatesville Ruritans. Bronze ($100) sponsors were BeulahBaptistChurch, the Campin’ Campbells, Jonathan and Courtney Jones, Mr. and Mrs. AJ Stallings, the Gates County Lions Club, Kellogg-Morgan Agency and Paul Toti Land Surveying. Donating at the coaches level were Lilley International and donating at the Fans level were 5Linx, Bethesda’s Porch Family Worship Center, Billy and Claire Presley, Red Barn Farms, Lane Farm Supply, Katherine’s Beauty Nook and Friendly Faces Pediatric Dentistry.

Without their generous support, this event and the Tread The Mill Walk would not be successful. Because of the donations from the sponsors and those taking the plunge, the local athletes are able to travel and compete, as the closest competition is Greenville, with other competitions in Smithfield, Durham, Raleigh and Fayetteville.

Special thanks and recognition to the Gates County Rescue Squad and Gates County Emergency Management Service for their presence at and in the lake.

GCHS Project Unify and Gates County Special Olympics would like to thank the GatesCounty community and the Gates County Schools Community.  Without the support of the community’s schools, church congregations, civic organizations and citizens this event would not be able to continue. Because of the tremendous support from the schools and local businesses, each year the event has grown. Special recognition is given to Joe Harrell and the Gates County Maintenance staff for their hard work is preparing the stage for the event.  Also contributing to the success of the event was the hard work by the volunteers who helped put the event together, helped with set ups, cleanup, registration, chili, judging, the bonfire, concessions and much, much more.

Plans are already under way for the 5th Annual Tread The Mill 2014 (last Saturday in October) and the 5th Annual Polar Plunge 2016 (last Saturday in January). We hope you will join us at the Millpond in the fall and Beaver Lake in January. We’d love to see church youth groups, school clubs, civic organizations and our local government join in the fun!  It’s never too early to be thinking about Freezin’ for a wonderful reason—Special Olympics!

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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