Take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Jan. 31

Polar Plunge participants run into the freezing water at Oak Mountain State Park's Double Oak Lake during last year's event. (Contributed)

Polar Plunge participants run into the freezing water at Oak Mountain State Park’s Double Oak Lake during last year’s event. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Join law enforcement officials from across the state in taking the Polar Plunge on Jan. 31 at Oak Mountain State Park.

Organized by the Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, officers will dive into the near freezing water of Double Oak Lake to raise money for the Special Olympics.

“The Polar Plunge is just one of the events we do,” Pelham police officer Mike Williams said. “One hundred percent (of the funds raised) goes to the Special Olympics.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the top donor to the Special Olympics world wide, Williams said, raising around $56 million this past year and more than $500 million since its start in 1981. The Alabama chapter is looking to raise around $50,000 from the Polar Plunge alone.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers,” Williams said. “Last year there were maybe 15 to 20 teams, but this year we’re really trying to ramp it up.”

This year’s Polar Plunge is the fifth edition of the annual event. Participants are encouraged to come in costume ready to jump in the freezing water. There will be a bonfire on the beach to warm swimmers after they take the plunge.

The event will also include a costume contest, music from a D.J. and a chili cook off, Williams said.

Registration for the plunge and more information about the event is available online at Oakmountainstateparkpolarplunge.eventbrite.com. Those wishing to participate, but not brave the cold, can donate to the event. A $50 donation will receive a “Too Chicken to Plunge” shirt.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is also looking for event sponsors.

The annual event is not only fun, it benefits an important cause, Williams said. The funds raised support the Special Olympics event and participating athletes.

“I know what we’re doing is really benefitting some people that would not be able to do this without our help,” Williams said.