Bearing the cold for a cause

polarp1St. Clair hosts Polar Plunge

D.J. Palm

Staff Writer

One by one, brave and selfless souls from the blue water area traveled to St. Clair to take a quick splash in the water on a frigid 19 degree day.

The “Polar Plunge” is an annual fundraising event organized by Wertz Warriors, a charity organization that nearly supports a hundred percent of all funds needed for Special Olympics Michigan Winter Games.

polarp2The plunge took place on the boating docks just southwest of the Bowling Alley where a rectangle shaped chunk of ice was carved out, creating a lung flattening 24 degree lake.

Shock,” said Jason Markel, a resident of Marine City, enjoying his second polar plunge in two years. “Your whole body just tightens up on you, it’s a good thing they have the divers in the water.” Markel would also go onto add that he loves the cause that the event is for, “I’m part of the Wertz Warriors we do the Jet Ski ride from Mackinaw to Harsens Island. My sister is an athlete so I’ve seen firsthand what the money helps.”

The St. Clair County Sherriff Dept. Dive team along with St. Clair Fire Dept. Divers and firemen floated in the lake to monitor the event, waiting to help participants quickly get out of the water.

As soon as they go in they pop right up. There is a warming station provided by Wertz Warriors so it’s quite safe,” said Sheriff Tim Donnellon.

Ann Plegue, the head chairperson organizing the event for Wertz Warriors, said they were looking for additional fundraisers that might work.

We saw there was an area that we could have a good draw from, the people are wonderful here helping us raise money, we thought it was a wonderful idea, and it is. Last year we raised $18,000 and currently right now we are over $18,000,” Plegue said.

According to Plegue, the estimated total of the Polar Plunge helped raise about $21,000.

Wertz Warriors was founded back in 1981 by Detroit Tiger great Vic Wertz. Since its existence it has helped raise almost ten million dollars to fund the Special Olympics of Michigan.

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