Warm hearts triumph at Woodbury Polar Plunge
Warm hearts triumphed over the cold weather, as more than 550 people took part in Woodbury’s first-ever Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser for Minnesota Special Olympics on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.
Held at Carver Lake, Woodbury’s Polar Plunge drew almost double the number of participants planners had originally hoped to attract. As this was a first-time event, organizers figured about 300 people would join in, but that goal was passed early on as more and more people signed up to participate.
Kayte Barton was one happy lady on Saturday. As a Special Olympics athlete, she’s participated in Polar Bear Plunges around the state of Minnesota in the past, but all of her previous 10 jumps had been at locations around the state. Finally, Barton, a member of Woodbury’s Blazing Stars team, got to take the plunge in her hometown.
“I’ve been trying for 18 years to get it into Woodbury,” Barton said. “This is my own way I can give back to an organization that means so much to me.”
The Blazing Stars team brought in approximately $7,000 in contributions to Special Olympics Minnesota. Of that, Barton raised about $1,500.
On Feb. 16, Special Olympics Minnesota Marketing and Communications Specialist Taylor Dale said the early tally shows that Woodbury’s first Plunge netted more than $89,000.
A portion of the funds raised will be donated to the Madison Claire Foundation, to assist in funding the 15,000-square-foot, fully accessible playground, Madison’s Place, proposed for construction on the south side of the Bielenberg Sports Center’s field house.