TACOMA -- About 300 people raced screaming into the Puget Sound off Owen Beach in Tacoma on Saturday for the annual Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Washington. The money goes to help athletes like Lizzie Enriquez-Ortiz. She plunged three times. Lizzie competes four sports including swimming, basketball, bowling and flag football. "The freeze is temporary but the impact is not," she said.
It was the first plunge for Auburn's Jordan Mathison. "It was a lot of fun. I will be back next year," she said but admitted it was cold.
A check of the water temperature before the plunge by Fircrest Chief John Cheesman and Pierce County Sheriff's Det. Ed Troyer who dove in off a Tacoma fireboat showed it at 42-43 degrees.
Numerous law enforcement officers from Fife Police, Federal Way Police, Fircrest Police, Pacific Police, Centralia PD, the Washington Department of Corrections and the Pierce County Sheriff's Department participated. "I get to see members of my community who care about something way outside themselves. They are sticking their neck out, They're freezing for a reason. They're chillin' and a thrillin'. They're coming out express to solidarity, to express support for people in the community who may be less fortunate than themselves. That's strong and it also shows the strength of the special athletes as they come here. This shows the kind of spirit, the kind of heart that Pierce County has," said Sheriff Paul Pastor.
There were also teams from TAPCO Credit Union, Aerotek, the Fearless Foss Falcons, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County and the Seattle Niners Faithful who helped raise more than $50,000.
If you couldn't make it to the Polar Plunge yesterday in Tacoma, you can still donate to help the athletes at https://impact.sowa.org/team/212442