Last weekend, as many Marylanders hunkered inside to endure the winter cold, TU Police Chief Bernie Gerst was plunging into the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Gerst and nearly 12,000 individuals from across the state participated in the annual Polar Bear Plunge, sponsored by the Maryland State Police. As President of the Maryland Chiefs of Police, Bernie felt it was his duty to plunge into the 33-degree water.
“The Maryland Chiefs of Police, and law enforcement in general, is a big supporter of the Special Olympics,” Bernie said. “As President of the Maryland Chiefs, I felt it was my duty to be there to represent Towson University and all of the police chiefs in the state of Maryland.” Bernie made sure to wear his TU gear to the event.
The event raised approximately $3 million for the Maryland Special Olympics, which holds its annual summer games on Towson’s campus. During the plunge—which was attended by more than 25,000 people—the master of ceremonies thanked Towson for generously allowing our campus to be used for their flagship event.
“They introduced the guests on the stage, ranging from the Governor, to the highest fundraiser to all of the chiefs and sheriffs present at the event,” Bernie said. “When they got to my introduction they went on to give high praise for the great care and service that TU provides to the Special Olympics during the summer games. They spoke in glowing terms about Towson, our staff, and the service we provide.”
This is the 15th year of the Polar Bear Plunge. Last November, Bernie jumped into the chilly Atlantic Ocean as part of the Boardwalk Plunge—the Ocean City equivalent of the Polar Bear Plunge.
To donate to Special Olympics, go to http://www.somd.org/ or send a check to 513 Progress Drive, Suite P, Linthicum, Maryland 21090-2256. If you’d like, you can indicate in the check’s “For” field that you’re donating in honor of Bernie Gerst.