Icy Water Changes Lives
Over 900 plunge into the ocean for Special Olympics New Hampshire
Hampton, NH (February 4, 2020) – The water temperature this past weekend at Hampton Beach was around 43 degrees. That doesn’t sound particularly frigid unless the air temperature is somewhere in the 30’s and you are jumping into that water. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday and Sunday during Penguin Plunge Weekend.
Each year’s plunge has a theme and the “Nifty-Fifties” motif was chosen to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics New Hampshire. Saturday’s 12th Annual High School plunge brought high schoolers, faculty and staff from all parts of the state to the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom to showcase their 1950’s fashion-sense and brave the icy ocean waves. There were plunge teams fielded by 20 different schools. The largest of these was Raymond High School’s 130 member-strong team called the “Ram-Guins”; a name mash-up of the RHS Ram mascot and a penguin. The Raymond team raised $45,000 for SONH.
Sunday’s Penguin Plunge marked its’ 21st year with 515 plungers hitting the chilly water both as individuals and with teams coming from various businesses and other organizations. Some participants make this an annual trek. Eileen and Kevin Priest recently moved from the Granite State to Punta Gorda, Florida but came back for the weekend just to plunge. Kevin has plunged 15 times and Eileen has done it 19 times. “I just couldn’t leave it at such an odd number. I had to come back this year to make it an even 20 plunges” she stated.
When the sand and the waves had settled, a total of 931 people took the plunge for Special Olympics New Hampshire and raised $585,509 to support year-round sports training and competition for more than 3000 athletes in New Hampshire. Mary Conroy, President & CEO of Special Olympics New Hampshire notes that “It’s a very brief, cold moment for our dedicated plungers, and it helps make for some very big moments in the lives of our athletes.”
Before and after plunging, participants are treated to food and beverages from McDonald’s-The Napoli Group, Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Associated Grocers of New England and Marshall Tent & Event Rental. Conroy continues “We couldn’t pull off such a massive event without all of our mission partners, more than 300 volunteers and the support of Hampton Police, Fire and Public Works departments, New Hampshire Fish & Game and the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation.”
More information about Special Olympics New Hampshire is available at www.SONH.org.
Photos from Saturday’s High School Plunge: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmL9BKGX
Photos from Sunday’s Penguin Plunge: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmL9GTzV
About Special Olympics New Hampshire
Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) is an accredited program of Special Olympics International (SOI) and is part of an international global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance.
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Contact: Mark Ericson
603-624-1250 Ext. 22