PLATTSBURGH - Mayor Donald M. Kasprzak will soon be among those "Freezin' for a Reason."
The mayor responded positively to a challenge from Clinton County Sheriff David N. Favro and Clinton County District Attorney Andrew M. Wylie during a press conference held Sept. 24, at City Hall. The challenge? That the sheriff and the D.A. would take a dip in Lake Champlain Saturday, Nov. 13, in the inaugural Freezin' for a Reason polar plunge - if the mayor does.
"You're going to see me with a shirt on, but I'll be there," Kasprzak said as he accepted the challenge.
The polar plunge will be held at Plattsburgh City Beach as a fundraiser for Special Olympics New York, an organization supported by members of law enforcement from across the state. The organization hosts an annual state competition for those with intellectual disabilities, which costs approximately $400 per athlete to compete, said Sue Ewing, a law enforcement officer involved with planning the event.
"The goal is to get the people out there doing this plunge to make a goal of $400 so that way each person would be able to send an athlete to the games," said Ewing. "Our personal goal is to see this community raise $25,000, but, any donation will be gladly accepted."
Currently, New York States hosts the largest state Special Olympics program in the nation, serving more than 46,000 athletes. The Plattsburgh polar plunge will help send people from this region to year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults alike, said Kasprzak.
"We need to help raise funds for this wonderful group of folks," said the mayor, as he was joined by local law enforcement, district attorneys and representatives of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. "I really have to tell you how important it is for all of us to get involved."
Those interested in signing up for Freezin' for a Reason may go on-line to www.specialolympicsny.org and click on the "Polar Plunge" icon. There, visitors can learn how to participate by collecting pledges from the community to participate. The Nov. 13 plunge will start with registration at 9 a.m., with the plunge to follow at 12 p.m.
Those participating will also be eligible to earn polar plunge merchandise such as hooded sweatshirts based on the level of pledges collected. Also, a contest will be held for best costumes and best team costumes for high schools and colleges at the plunge.
"The people that raise the most money - whether it be a high school student, a college student, or person from a large business or a small business - we're going to recognize that by giving them a gift," said Ewing. "We're trying to make it a contest within a contest so every person will be recognized one way or another."
"It's a wild, crazy and fun event that's going to raise awareness and funds for the dedicated athletes of the Special Olympics," added Kasprzak. "It really makes me proud as mayor that this is an event that we've never had before."
For more information about the event, contact Kaila Horton at 388-0790, ext. 129, or visit the Special Olympics New York Web site.