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WJBD - Local News - Centralia Team Raises Almost 20k for Special Olympics

Centralia Police Sergeant Steve Whritenour questions his decision to jump into a near-freezing lake as he emerges on Saturday.

Centralia Team Raises Almost 20k for Special Olympics

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

It was about 63 degrees under beautiful sunny skies on Saturday on the beaches of Carlyle Lake. It was absolutely perfect weather--but maybe not for the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics that took place at the Dam West Access Beach.

A team led by the Centralia Police Department raised the most out of the 50 teams in attendence with $19,000 dollars. Sgt. Steve Whritenour of the Centralia Police said that while it looked nice out, the water was still cold enough for it to be considered a real Polar Plunge.

"That is the coldest that water has ever been. I've been doing this for seven years now. It's about 32-33 degrees and it is absolutely freezing cold" said Whritenour.

Whritenour received the "Top Cop" award for raising the most money of any single police officer at $5,120. 

A large team of Murray Center supporters and staff members also took the plunge as Murray Center residents cheered them on. Among them was State Representative Charlie Meier of Highland, taking the plunge for the second year in a row.

"Special Olympics for everybody is important. We have residents here from [Apple Cottage] at Murray Center to enjoy it, and it's a great day out for them...we're just doing what we can for them" Meier said.

Overall, the plunge raised $116,000 for Special Olympic programs throughout the state. Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School received the award for most school spirit, and Dupo High School won the Cool School Challenge, raising $3,197. The Bartelso Fire Department won top non-police fundraising team at $9,070.

The event was one of several that will take place across the state this month.

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