Despite temperature hovering around 32 degrees and water temperatures of 37 degrees, more than five dozen people braved the chilly waters in Vermillion’s eighth annual Polar Plunge event on
The event was held to raise money for the Special Olympics of South Dakota.
Jon Cole, a school resource officer with the Vermilion Police Department and an organizer of the event for the last four years, said this year’s plunge raised a total of $18,700.
Cole said 67 people signed up to jump at the event, though only 61 actually showed up to make the plunge – but because the fee to plunge is usually paid ahead of time, even those who weren’t brave enough to jump into the icy water donated to the cause.
“The money’s still all donated, a lot of it’s donated online, so it’s all still going to go to Special Olympics,” Cole said.
Several local entities helped organize the event, Cole said, including the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC), as well as SESDAC and the Old Lumber Company, which most participants walked to after taking the plunge.
Participating in upbeat and charitable community events like the Polar Plunge and Special Olympics is uplifting for law enforcement, Cole said.
“Part of being a police officer, we see the worst every day in people and the worst in society, and dealing with the athletes in Special Olympics really shows us why we do the job that we do,” Cole said.
Kevin Myron, who jumped with the Sanford Vermillion team, said that his team raised about $1,500 for the event. Myron has participated in Polar Plunges for the last five years, and said he was looking forward to most aspects of the event.
“The cold water, not so much, but it’s a fun day, everybody dresses up,” Myron said.
Myron was one of many who donned a special ‘look’ for the occasion – he dyed his hair and eyebrows blue.
“My daughter said this (outfit) was too boring, so they said I had to spice it up a little,” he said.
Dana Coyle, an employee at the USD help desk, did the jump with several of his co-workers, said he was hoping to “get it (the plunge) over quickly.”
Ethan Falaniko, a first-year business major and a USD football player, said after his plunge that, despite the frigid water, it was worthwhile to participate in the event.
“It feels great, just knowing that it’s for a good purpose you know, it’s always fun,” Falaniko said.