Mid-Ohio Valley residents plunge into the cold for fundraiser

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton John Corbett, chief executive officer of Special Olympics West Virginia, takes the plunge Saturday.

PARKERSBURG — Despite temperatures more suited for April or May, the fifth annual “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge attracted 37 jumpers to the Point Park Market Place to participate in the Special Olympics West Virginia fundraiser.

Cheryl Baxter, event coordinator for Special Olympics West Virginia, said the Polar Plunge event in Parkersburg was one of five in the state and is a major fundraiser for the Special Olympics organization in West Virginia.

Baxter said over five years the Polar Plunge event has taken place in all kinds of weather.

“Last year we had some snow and for other years it was just very cold,” she said. “There was never any thought of postponing this in hopes of getting a cooler weekend.”

Baxter said this year was the third year for the plunge to be on the parking lot behind the Point Place Market Place. She said the first one was in City Park and another was in Point Park next to the river.

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Kristi Clegg, left, and Codie Richards, right, take a plunge into freezing water for Special Olympics West Virginia.

Baxter said planning will start soon for the 2018 plunge.

“Right now we are hoping to have at least the same number of entrants and that it will be a good year,” she said.

Two first time participants were among those taking the polar plunge

Codie Richards said he didn’t mind the temperature since it was for a good cause.

“It was a good thing to be involved in for a charity,” he said.

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton Ashley Hysell donned a Rocky costume for her plunge at the “Freezin’ for a Reason” Polar Plunge at the Point Park Market Place on Saturday to benefit Special Olympics West Virginia.

Richards said he is thinking about doing the plunge next year, but he hasn’t decided.

Kristie Clegg said she and Richards were “voluntold” they would be part of polar plunge by the general manager of the Seventh Street Wendy’s where they both work.

“I’ll probably do it again,” she said. “When I hit that cold water, I couldn’t breathe.”

Special Olympics West Virginia organizes sporting events for the developmentally disabled and holds the major Olympic games for hundreds of special athletes. The Fall Special Olympics are held in Parkersburg.

The other polar plunge events will be in Morgantown, Charleston, Beckley and Summersville.