Organizers of this year’s “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge are hoping to raise $60,000 to support Special Olympics Louisiana.
The plunge, set for Feb. 28 at the Cabela’s pond in Gonzales, features dozens of law enforcement officers, residents and Special Olympians jumping into the pond.
Many of the leapers wear costumes and some in law enforcement don their uniforms for the plunge.
Maj. Ward Webb, patrol and traffic division commander with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, will be making his seventh plunge.
Webb will be joined in the water by other members of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and Gonzales Police Department, officers from Baton Rouge and law enforcement agencies from around the area.
Many taking part, like Webb, also volunteer for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and at Special Olympics events.
Webb calls the plunge an integral part of his life and spends weeks before the event begging friends and relatives to donate to the cause.
His experience with Special Olympics athletes keeps him coming back to the plunge year after year.
“It has become an integral part of my life that I hope helps to define the person that I am,” Webb said. “More importantly, our fundraising activities help to create opportunities for those that otherwise would have limited opportunities for inclusion, fair play, understanding and acceptance.”
Webb said he has seen firsthand the difference that Special Olympics has made in the lives of not only the athletes, but those who “are associated with these remarkable athletes.”
Last year, Webb raised $13,000 for the Polar Plunge.
Webb said he “was touched ... last year when one of the Special Olympians called me and told me I was his friend and wanted to know if he could jump with the APSO family.”
“That’s when you know you’ve touched someone,” he said.
He said the annual event helps more than 13,000 athletes compete in Special Olympics. However, he said there are more than 100,000 others with intellectual disabilities that are “not afforded these opportunities due to lack of funding.”
For more information, visit www.laso.org/media/190940/2015-Gonzales-PP-flyer-PDF.pdf.