For the Rapids City Times
WAUSAU – In honor of National Police Week, Special Olympics Wisconsin has recognized the Wood County Sheriff’s Department. For the second year in a row, they were the top-earning law enforcement team participating in the Polar Plunges for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
This year’s team of 10 raised $11,378 for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes in the Wisconsin Rapids Polar Plunge that took place on Feb. 3. After taking the title of top-earning law enforcement team in 2017 with $6,717.08, Wood County’s 2018 fundraising total marks a whopping 69 percent increase over last year’s amount.
“I would like to thank the members of the team who plunged with me, but more importantly, the members of the community that donated to support such a worthy cause,” said Patrol Captain Shawn Becker of the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and team leader for their Polar Plunge team.
The Wood County Sheriff’s Department’s phenomenal fundraising efforts also helped the many Wisconsin law enforcement teams participating in the Polar Plunges to increase the amount raised across the state through the Law Enforcement Challenge by almost 10 percent over 2017. In 2018, the teams of the Law Enforcement Challenge raised $110,746 compared to $101,487 in 2017. The many amazing men and women of Wisconsin’s law enforcement agencies were able to exceed their goal they had set for themselves of $105,000 for the year.
The Law Enforcement Challenge has quickly gained considerable popularity within the law enforcement communities of Wisconsin. Just since 2015, the Challenge has seen a 74 percent increase in money raised for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes. In 2018, 46 teams composed of law enforcement personnel participated. The Challenge serves as a friendly competition where agencies across the state get to face off against each other in raising money for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes. The top teams get recognized during the State Summer Games and get to have a team member represent their agency and help carry the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony for the State Summer Games.
The Law Enforcement Challenge for the Polar Plunge is one of the many ways in which members of law enforcement agencies across the state contribute to Special Olympics Wisconsin through the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
Beyond the Polar Plunge, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin brings members of law enforcement together with Special Olympics Wisconsin in events like the Final Leg, Run with the Cops, Tip-A-Cop events, and the World’s Largest Truck Convoy to encourage inclusion and respect in the community.
In addition to Wisconsin Rapids, the Polar Plunge took place in 11 other cities across Wisconsin in 2018. In 2018 plungers across the state raised more than $1.5 million for SOWI athletes. Donations provide year-round programming in sports, health, education and community building to change the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
For more information about Special Olympics Wisconsin, visit SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org.