Polar Plunges raise more than $125,000 for Special Olympics SC

Participants quickly ran out of the lake after submerging themselves into the cold water. Allen Wallace photos.

All over South Carolina Saturday, people plunged into very cold water for a very good cause.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (SCLETR) organized four Polar Plunge events around the state, including two in the Columbia area, all to support Special Olympics South Carolina.

At Lake Murray, hundreds of people raced into the lake, with many racing out again even more quickly. They included teams from numerous local schools and law enforcement agencies (such as the SC Highway Patrol, SC Transport Police, Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Lexington County Sheriff’s Department) in addition to friends and families of athletes and other supporters.

Many dressed in costumes for the occasion, with superheroes, mermaids, emojis, wizards and a wide range of others taking the plunge.

“We cannot say thank you enough for everybody coming out and participating today. It means an awful lot,” said Mike Still, a retired sergeant with the transport police who continues to serve as a SCLETR leader. “Everything we raise today helps our 29,000 athletes with Special Olympics here in South Carolina.”

At Maxcy Gregg Park, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook jumped into a frigid pool, accompanied by UofSC police officers and students and others.

Polar Plunges also happened Saturday in Seneca and Fort Mill, and the events raised a total of more than $125,000 for Special Olympics South Carolina, which provides year-round athletic training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

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