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Residents take polar plunge for Special Olympics fundraiser

Supporters dive into chilly waters to raise funds for the Special Olympics

Posted: February 22, 2014 10:13 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2014 10:13 p.m.

Members of the AV Dunkers team exit the chilly water of the lower lake at Castaic Lake State Recreation Area as they participate in the 2014 Polar Plunge Special Olympics fundraiser on Saturday.

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Though the temperature outside was downright balmy for February, the waters of Castaic Lake were still plenty chilly for those who plunged in Saturday as part of the Polar Plunge event to raise money for the Special Olympics.

The enthusiastic crowd included many who dressed specially for the occasion. Participants donned tutus, masks and superhero costumes to set the tone for Saturday’s event.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mark McCorkle said about 111 people signed up to take a dip in Castaic Lake on Saturday, and the goal was for the event to raise $25,000 for the Special Olympics.

Funds raised go to help Special Olympic athletes, including those in the Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley areas.

“This is a fantastic way to get the community together to raise money for a phenomenal organization,” he said.

McCorkle was also among those who got in the spirit of the event as he came dressed as a pirate, complete with a parrot fixed to his shoulder.

Saturday’s plunge was part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the mission of which is to raise funds and increase awareness for the Special Olympics.

Money raised is used to help the Special Olympics fund its selection of sports programs and training.

David Payner, a sophomore in the autism program at West Ranch High School, said the Special Olympics has allowed him to learn and participate in a variety of different sports.

“Every dollar raised not only provides free year-round sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities, but it also gives people a lot of happiness,” he said.

Payner also said sports training is not the only thing he gets out of participating.

“The best part of Special Olympics is playing sports with my friends,” he said. “I have learned so many new things.”
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