13th Annual Upper West TN Special Olympics Polar Plunge a Success


13th Annual Upper West TN Special Olympics Polar Plunge a Success

By Shannon Taylor, Editor

The 13th Annual Upper West TN Special Olympics Polar Plunge was held this past Saturday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Aloha Pool and Spas on Reelfoot Avenue in Union City.

The event, started in 2011, raises funds for the Special Olympics of West Tennessee.

The event had a goal this year of $20,000, however that exceeded that goal by four thousand for a whopping $24,000 total raised.

The money will go to benefit over 400 athletes in Weakley, Obion, Henry, Lake and Carroll Counties.

Plungers arrived early for registration at 10 a.m. and were ready to dive into an Aloha Pool by 11 a.m.

All Plungers had to raise a minimum of $75 each to take the plunge and were encouraged to wear a costume during their jump into the water, which is set at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This year's event had a couple of interesting ones including The Super Mario Bro. and The Wizard of Oz.

Sponsors for the event this year included Aloha Pools & Spas - Union City, Thunderbolt Broadcasting, Higher Ground Coffee Co., Sammies, The Grind Mac and Cheese Burger Bar, Cary Insurance Services, Inc., UT Martin Athletics, UT Martin Football, Union City Knights of Columbus, and the Northwest Tennessee Photography Club.

One Polar Plunger, John Blanton, has taken the Plunge ever since the event's inception. Blanton participates in honor of his sister-in-law Cissaa, one of West Tennessee’s Special Olympic Athletes.

This year, Blanton was able to raise $12,700, which is the most ever raised by an individual in the West TN Polar Plunge history. Even more astounding - Blanton has raised over $53,000 in 13 plunges.

“We are so humbled and grateful for our local community that supports our Special Olympics program. Thank you all! Let's do it again next year. Book it Saturday, Feb. 8, 2025,” stated Upper West TN Special Olympics representatives. More events will be available for fundraising at a future date.