Fundraiser leaves participants drenched, but happy.
Deputies weren’t the only ones taking an early morning dip today, as an enthusiastic group ran full speed into the wave pool at Hurricane Harbor to raise money for the local Special Olympics. The divers, who started a 24-hour marathon today, included athletes, coaches, parents and law enforcement personnel that have spent the last two months getting pledges toward the group’s goal of $40,000.
Monies raised will help pay for athlete’s uniforms and equipment for the many sports offered in the program that is free to the athletes with special needs.
One of the plungers, wearing a bright blue bathing suit and a winning smile was Kayla Edgar, 20, the 2007 SCV Special Olympics Athlete of the Year. As she ticked off the long list of sports in which she participates (swimming, floor hockey, baseball, bowling and soccer were the highlights), the crowd of divers gave her a rousing round of applause.
Fellow Special Olympian Colbert Williams,36, toweled off after the dive, donning a white robe emblazoned with the logo of the plunge and a six-point sheriff’s star. This was Williams’ second year participating.
The “divers” weren’t actually jumping into the deep end, like they did at Castaic Lake last year, it was more of a run from the beach of the wave pool to a rope at the 5-foot depth.
All of the divers liked this setup much better than jumping into the local lake, which Sgt. Ron Olfert affectionately referred to as “the swamp.” Olfert was one of a group of law enforcement officials organized by Deputy Artie Thompson that included patrol deputies and members of the SCV Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Squad.
“I’m here because Artie threatened me,” he joked.
The deputies wore their uniform shirts over their swim trunks both in solidarity and to do a little showing off. Recently, deputies and volunteers from the local station raised more than $5,000 for Special Olympics during the Tip A Hero event at Elephant Bar, an activity supported not only by the sheriff’s department, but by the local CHP and fire departments.
Laura Mayo, Regional Director of the SCV Special Olympics, collected checks from the participants and shouted encouragement from the “shore.” She said the teams will dive every hour on the hour – through the night – and the event will culminate with a Super Plunge at 9 a.m. Saturday, in which the public is invited to participate for a minimum $100 donation. Members of the public who make the donation will not only be allowed to jump in with the local celebrities, but also will be able to enjoy the full day at Hurricane Harbor, which opens for the season on Saturday.
For more information, call the Special Olympics office at 253-2121.