PITTSBURG — "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Special Olympics New Hope Bulldogs Athlete Chevi Peters read the Special Olympics oath in front of a crowd of Polar Plunge participants who jumped into ice cold water on Saturday.
“It means a lot to me and it means a lot to our athletes,” Peters said about everyone coming together to raise money for Special Olympics.
Peters has played many sports through the organization, this year he’s focusing on basketball, softball and flag football. He also coaches powerlifting.
Erin Fletcher, Special Olympics Kansas director of grants and development, said Polar Plunge is one of the largest fundraisers for the organization. The money raised helps athletes like Peters get to regional and state competitions and have access to Special Olympics programs such as Healthy Athletes and leadership programs.
Over 100 people signed up to either jump into the frigid water or to watch their friends and coworkers take a plunge into the pool at Crimson Villas, which by the way had extra ice poured into it by the Frontenac Fire Department.
Participating in the “jumping into ice cold water” part for the first time was Leslie Lackamp, the executive director of Mosaic in Pittsburg.
“All of us at Mosaic, we just really want to support our Special Olympics athletes,” she said. “They love it, they enjoy it, they look forward to all of the events that Special Olympics sponsors.”
Jumping along with her was the Pittsburg State University Tri Sig’s who volunteer and visit Mosaic frequently.
“For me it’s amazing, and it’s also really exciting to see the amount of support for the mission which is always that, you know, that everyone we support just wants to be like everyone else and wants the same opportunities,” Lackamp said.
According to Fletcher, the organization has a goal to raise $30,000 by the end of February which she said they look like they might be on their way to their goal thanks to the recent donations from the Polar Plunge. During the event Pittsburg Police Department Lt. Chris Moore, who also serves as the local Law Enforcement Torch Run organizer, was recognized for raising thousands of dollars each year for Special Olympics Kansas.
People can continue to donate online through the end of February at plungeks.org/pittsburg/