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Hundreds Take the Polar Plunge

Created: 02/15/2014 6:48 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The weather was a little frightful in the Northland on Saturday, but that didn't stop hundreds from taking a dip in Lake Superior. Every daring dunk into the icy water helped support the Minnesota Special Olympics.

Fresh snowfall was just icing on the cake for a first time plungers like Rick Martin.

“I thought it was crazy. I thought there was no way she was going to get me to do it,” Martain said. “I decided to embrace it rather than be afraid of it. If that makes sense?”

His girlfriend Alyssa Parker, a veteran plunger, had some comforting words for him.

“You know, I'm really happy that today is above zero,” Parker said.

With the wind whipping at 16 degrees Martin tried to stay positive.

“That's actually a comforting thought. The water's warmer than the air temp,” Martin said.

Parker said there is something that takes the sting off the frigid fall.

“Nobody gives you proceeds to go do an easy thing and so all the money that we get goes to an amazing cause and when I look at the athletes I always think to myself they have conquered so many things I can jump into a little bit of water for them,” Parker said.

Desiree Warpula, another first time plunger, said she tried to prepare for the frigid festivities.

“I was outside in my yard snow blowing last night gearing up for the cold weather,” Warpula said. 

But she had second thoughts facing the frozen lake.

“I think I'm going to jump in and it's going to be a shock. I don't know. I'm not sure yet. I'm kind of getting a little nervous,” Warpula said.

She followed through like 920 others to raise money for the Special Olympics. The Polar Plunge is a tradition in the Northland, but Warpula did admit it's a little absurd.

“I was just thinking about what people down south would think of us doing this, and they would think we're crazy,” Warpula said.

The event raised over $133,000.

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