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Polar Plungers to Jump into Rend Lake on Saturday, March 4

Be a fan of brrr-avery! Support Special Olympics athletes by jumping into the waters of Rend Lake on Saturday, March 4 for the Rend Lake Polar Plunge. The funds raised from the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge® will benefit Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities in the counties of Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Marion, Pope, Saline, Wabash, Wayne and White.

All Polar Plungers are required to collect a minimum of $100 in donations. Check-in begins at 10:00 a.m.

Lunch will follow the Plunge at Benton Eagles. Lunch is free for Plungers and $6 adults and $3 for children 6 and under. Lunch will be spaghetti and hot dogs for the children. Cash Bar is available also. At the Post-Plunge Party we will be having a raffle for various prizes including a Phantom 3 Drone, firepit and chairs, and a Ninja Professional System. There will also be tons of door prizes being given away. You will also have the chance to receive the prestigious “Golden Plunger Awards” which are presented to best costume, most money raised by an individual, the oldest plunger, and the youngest plunger. There are is also a 2 traveling trophies one is presented to the community group, business or school which recruits a team of plungers that raises the most money, and one presented to the law enforcement agency which recruits the team which raises the most money (this can be any agency involved in emergency services or law enforcement.)

People are encouraged to come in costume and to form teams. Each team member must also raise the minimum of $100 in donations; all team members’ individual fundraising totals will be merged to form a combined team total. Statewide, teams are placed into divisions based on size and are awarded prizes for the most money raised.

Among those plunging is the “George’s Gang” plunge team who will plunge in honor of their late friend and co-worker Ellen “George” Tarrant who passed away last August. Ellen devoted her career to advocating for students with special needs and worked in various districts and schools, including the Brownsville School, as a member of the IEP team.

Each Plunger receives an official Polar Plunge sweatshirt. There are also incentive items for raising more money, which are $250 receive an insulated water bottle, $500 also receive an embroidered sling bag, $1,000 add an embroidered Under Armour Storm Bora. With grand prizes, including a seven night trip for two adults to Riu Palace Peninsula in Cancun, Mexico. For every $500 a plunger raises, he/she will get an entry into the drawing for this grand prize.

This is the 18th year of the LETR Polar Plunge. In 2016, nearly $1.9 million was raised by 6,480 plungers. In 18 years, $16.4 million has been raised by more than 60,000 plungers.

Beat the crowd and pre-register:

* February 28 at Ross Cottom Lanes, 2080 Highway 45 North, Harrisburg, from 6-8:00 p.m.

* March 1 at Nu-Bowl Lanes, 1315 North 17th St., Mt. Vernon, from 6-8:00 p.m.

Pick up your sweatshirt and wristband and save time in the morning. Plungers can register for the Plunge at www.plungeillinois.com or by contacting Jackie Flechs or Rhonda Knight at 618-383-4400. Last-minute Plungers are welcome to register on site the morning of the Plunge.

Statewide Presenting Polar Plunge Sponsor: GEICO

Rend Lake Plunge Sponsors include: Withers Broadcasting/Dana Communications, WISH, WMIX, WQRL, WSIL TV3, ECKCO, ABATE/King City Law Dogs, Register News, The Southern Illinoisan, The McLeansboro Times-Leader, Litton Ambulance, and Da Vinci Smart Drink.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fund-raising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. This intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June. Special Olympics Illinois is a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics programs are now in more than 170 countries with 4.7 million athletes.