PPD holds 12th annual Polar Plunge

Published 1:17 pm Monday, January 23, 2023

By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Many smiling faces emerged from the frigid water at Oak Mountain State Park for the 12th annual Polar Plunge event on Saturday, Jan. 21.

The Polar Plunge was hosted by the Pelham Police Department and the Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. Participants present jumped into the chilly water of Oak Mountain State Park and paid a fee to do so, all of which will be given to the Special Olympics.

Members and employees of Publix were present, adorning green T-shirts with the words Publix Serves on them. Dozens of employees from the Publix on Valleydale Road.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get out and showcase Special Olympics of Alabama,” George Beaudry state director for the Alabama Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. “That is what we’re about. We’re here to raise awareness for our athletes, raise awareness for our program and also raise funds.”

There are more than 15,000 athletes currently in Special Olympics of Alabama who are provided with the opportunity to participate in sports training and competitions that aid them in living longer, happier and healthier lives.

“When organizations like the city of Pelham take it upon themselves to throw an event like this, it serves the community immensely,” Beaudry said. “It lets everyone know this is what Special Olympics is about and we reach new people every year.”

Starting behind a line, attendees sprinted together in large groups into the lake.

“This was close to one of our larger turnouts.” Beaudry said. “Every year it has gotten bigger. We keep growing, we keep raising awareness and we keep raising money.”

Brandon Bailey was a first-time participant in the Polar Plunge who said he tried to convince the rest of his office to take part in the plunge.

“I was the only one crazy enough to do it,” Bailey said. “It was fun. I am starting to get back in shape, and doing stuff like this is good exercise.”

Bailey said he has been coming to Oak Mountain State Park for more than 20 years and enjoys it as a venue.

“To me it’s awesome to see the folks jump in the water,” Beaudry said. “At first, you see that look of shock on a lot of faces, especially when the water is cold like today. Then, you just see that look of excitement. For a lot of people, they’ve never done anything like this. It scares them, it surprises them and then you see that look of excitement. It is pretty awesome. That’s what I like to see. I like to see those faces when they’re coming out of the water, it’s really exciting.”