Together, teams of fearless individuals sprinted across the cold sand into the freezing waters of Lake Manawa on Saturday, nervous laughter transformed to shrieks as men, women and children willingly submerged themselves for Special Olympics Iowa.
While participation numbers were down from last year, the 2019 Polar Plunge raised about $23,000, Council Bluffs Police Officer and plunge organizer Troy McIntosh said.
The event went well, as it once more brought the community together to raise money for a good cause, he said.
“With the flooding affecting so many departments and organizations, it’s a phenomenal group that comes out and enjoys the cold water,” he said.
One of the plungers, Dawn Opal of Council Bluffs, took to the water bearing a fake mustache and carrying — of course — a plunger. This was her fourth year participating in the chilly dip.
However, it was the first plunge for her husband, Tommy Opal, who was dunked head first into the water by his wife.
Dawn Opal, and her team from TitleCorps National, raised a combined $4,000 for the event.
“I wanted to show appreciation to those who donated. Special Olympics means a lot to our family,” she said, noting that her son is diagnosed with autism.